Brakspear disposed of 10% of estate last year

By James Wallin, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

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Tom Davies: 'The Campaign for Real Ale are not experts on running pubs'
Tom Davies: 'The Campaign for Real Ale are not experts on running pubs'
Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies has revealed that the company disposed of around 10% of its estate last year — and is now in a position to grow both its tenanted and managed divisions.

Speaking to the Publican's Morning Advertiser​'s sister title M&C Report​, he said moves to tighten planning regulation around converting pubs were “deeply worrying” and presented a risk to pubs that could otherwise be viable.

He said: “Some of the pubs we disposed of have continued as pubs, which I am really pleased about. But some have gone to housing, some to supermarkets. And I don’t have a problem with that because I don’t believe they could survive as pubs.

“Pubs certainly need to be protected but we need to be realistic about it. The Campaign for Real Ale are experts in beer and have done a lot of good in that area but they are not experts on running pubs. They take the stance that any closure or conversion of a pub must be opposed. That is unworkable. If you have three pubs in a village that are struggling to survive, isn’t it better that one remains rather than all three becoming unviable?”

Expansion plans

Davies said 2015 was set to be a year of acquisitions for Brakspear. He said targets for managed sites would need to be capable of turning over £1m a year, with tenanted sites at least £500,000. Accommodation will also be on the checklist, with an aim to find sites that can accommodate at least 10 rooms.

Asked whether he would consider a group acquisition, Davies said: “The deals that have been touted around recently tend to be on the managed side. I don’t think we are at a stage with our managed pubs yet where we could look at that. But if the right group came along we would look at it.”
He said the managed division, which is currently made up of four pubs, had been boosted by various appointments in 2014, including executive chef, Anthony Ely.

He said: “The head office is now very strong and that gives me confidence that we can really push ahead with our ambitions in managed.
“I think the structure we have in place now could take us to at least 10 sites, geography permitting. After that point I think we would need to bolster that structure to take us further.”

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