This year predicted as "turning point" for pub sector

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pub retail summit, Venture capital

Hansen claims 2013 will be 'turning point'
Hansen claims 2013 will be 'turning point'
This year will prove to be a “turning point” in the pub market, Sapient Corporate Finance founder Peter Hansen has predicted.

Speaking at the Pub Retail Summit last week, he predicted banks would start to “loosen up” - and clearing banks would begin “piling back into the market”.

He also expects an uptake in Initial Public Offering (IPOs) and more interest from private equity and other buyers. In addition, Hansen predicted an increase in “quasi-managed”-type agreements in the tenanted sector.

Turning point

He told the conference: “I do think 2013 is going to be the turning point in the market. Why? Because I think interest will start growing more next year.

“I think the banks are slowly, gradually building their way out of their balance sheets… so I think it’s going to loosen up a bit.”

Hansen cited the aftermath of US investment firm Cerberus’ acquisition of Admiral Taverns as an example of investor interest in the sector. He said Sapient, which advised Cerberus, received a “whole host of calls from property-based investors and private equity firms wanting to re-look at tenanted pubs”.

Hansen said almost every decade clearing banks “find new ways to pile into a market and blow it up” and predicted: "They will come back into the sector.

“It probably won’t be as bad as it was last time when lending got up to about eight to nine times post-overhead; the banks will be smarter about it this time.

“But when it turns, and when they’re confident that it turns and their credit committees are confident that the market is turning, the banks will come piling back into the market very quickly.”

IPOs

Regarding IPOs, Hansen said: “In the next 12 to 24 months we’re going to see the public equity markets open up a bit.”

But he added: “I don’t see this huge rush because there’s all kinds of overhead associated with it - there’s hassle.”

Hansen predicted a “big reorganisation in the industry” around business models, saying that the tenanted model works in some outlets but not others, such as small pubs.

He said Marston’s has “led the way” with its franchise agreement offering “much reduced risk” for the licensee. He also cited the “hybrid” model from Amber where the manager is like a franchisee.

Hansen predicted that major managed pubcos could convert between 500 and 1,000 sites to a “quasi-managed operation”.

‘I think in the longer term we’re going to see that market going through a lot of change because the tenanted market itself needs a lot of change and fine tuning.”

Related topics: Other operators

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