NewRiver Retail

NewRiver in 2015: Buying, selling and Co-ops on pub land

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

NewRiver in 2015: Buying, selling and Co-ops on pub land
NewRiver Retail has reported a strong performance in 2015, a year that saw the company buy 360 pubs, hand over land for Co-Op convenience stores and sell on one pub for a profit.

The pubco, which has bought 360 pubs from Marston’s and Punch since 2013, is on site building a further three shops on pub land, and has secured 24 planning applications for convenience stores.

Good for pubs?

Convenience stores don’t always mean the closure of a pub, and NewRiver has told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​ that Co-Op stores can be beneficial to existing pubs, but many licensees remain skeptical​.

Last year the company’s property director Allan Lockhart said the “vast majority” of pubs would stay open, but there could be a small number of closures.

Selling for profit

During the final quarter last year, NewRiver sold one pub for £475,000 – an uplift on purchase price, generating internal rate of return (IRR) of 58%.

NewRiver also submitted 12 residential planning applications for 45 units during the quarter. Three have been approved so far for a total of seven houses.


Chief executive David Lockhart said: “Following a highly active period, NewRiver has again demonstrated its track record in quickly deploying equity capital with acquisitions completed in the third quarter and post-period totalling a combined £108m, at an average yield of 7.94%.

“The fourth quarter has got off to an encouraging start, with a £9m post period disposal, reflecting our commitment to effectively recycling capital. We look forward to the opportunities that 2016 presents including our planned move to a premium listing on the main market in July.”


The company intends to submit in excess of 20 additional applications in the fourth quarter, covering 70 houses.

NewRiver completed the 20,000sq ft Packhorse Kitchen development in Huddersfield, introducing two new restaurants and a modern new food court anchored by a Burger King.

The property investor also added two new lettings to Burger King - in Middlesbrough, on a 20-year lease, at a base rent of £50,000pa plus turnover linked top-up; and in Wallsend, Tyne and Wear, for 20-year lease, at a rent of £60,800 pa plus a 10% turnover top-up. It is currently on-site for the delivery of Phase II in Wallsend to create an 18,500sq ft Aldi.

In addition there has been a new letting to Costa Coffee in Wallsend for a new 10-year lease at £37,500pa.

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