Upham seeks £30m for expansion

By James Wallin, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

Upham Pub Company currently runs 12 pubs, including the Running Horse in Littleton, Hampshire
Upham Pub Company currently runs 12 pubs, including the Running Horse in Littleton, Hampshire

Related tags: Finance

Hampshire-based Upham Pub Company is seeking £30m of funding through the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) over the next two years to take it to between 30 and 40 pubs, the Publican's Morning Advertiser's sister title M&C Report understands.

The company is also in the process of finalising a £3.7m debt raise, the first debt it has introduced to the business, in order to buy two new pubs this year and continue refurbishments of recent acquisitions.

Its 12th site, the White Hart in Overton, near Basingstoke, will open at the end of May after a £1.2m investment to turn it into a 12-bedroom inn.

David Butcher, director and co-founder of the company, said: “We are just starting a new EIS fund, which has the potential to raise £15m a year, with Kin Capital, with a view to doing it over two years so giving us up to £30m if it all goes well.

“Almost all of that will go into new acquisitions. We are looking to move the brewery but that will cost under £1m so the focus is very much on acquiring new sites. We are looking to get to 30 or 40 pubs but we will remain focussed on trying to acquire bigger and higher turnover sites.”

Butcher said accommodation was a key area going forward but added: “We are constrained by our EIS regulations, so they have got to be pubs with rooms, not hotels.”

He said the company would remain within its heartland of “Hampshire and just into surrounding counties” and said the structure implemented in the last year — which included the ap-pointment of finance director Robb Harris — would allow Upham to grow around 25 pubs in its current from.

He said trading so far this year had been strong with like-for-like sales up 6%.

Related topics: Other operators

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