CAMRA urges Ei Group not to sell pubs to developers

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sale on the cards: the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has urged Ei to sell unwanted pubs to other pub operators
Sale on the cards: the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has urged Ei to sell unwanted pubs to other pub operators

Related tags: Ei Group, Camra

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has urged Ei Group to sell its pubs to other operators after news the pubco is set to sell its commercial property branch.

Properties managed by Ei Commercial Properties include 376 free-of-tie pubs ​ and a number of former pub sites that have been converted for alternative use.

In a trading update, Simon Townsend, chief executive officer for the group, indicated negotiations were underway to sell “all or part of the portfolio”.

'Robbing communities'

Ben Wilkinson, CAMRA's national director, said he hoped the group would sell the properties to fellow pub operators and not developers.

He said: "It'll be important to consider the details of what is currently only a rumoured sale of some of Ei Group's pubs.

“But if a number of pubs are to be put on the market, it's essential that other operators are given the opportunity to acquire these as going concerns.

"Too many times in the past we've seen owners dispose of pubs directly to developers, robbing communities of their locals and licensees of their livelihoods.

“If Ei chooses to dispose of some its estate, we call on it to do the morally decent thing and sell these sites as licensed premises."

Level of interest

The pubco confirmed it was looking into the sale of the arm​ last month, after appointing financial advisory group Rothschild & Co.

“A sale would allow us to concentrate on our core estate. I have been reassured by the level of interest we have received,” Townsend said.

The pubco announced its revenues rose 7% to £695m in the year to 30 September.

Townsend added: “Our strategic plan is on track and we remain focused on driving long-term growth in shareholder value.”

Profits increase

A total of 412 commercial properties generated a net annualised rental income of £29m in the past year, the pubco revealed. The average net income per property was £72,300, an 8.2% increase on the previous year.

A number of village pubs have been sold by the pubco in the past year, including one in Herefordshire that was successfully bought by a residents' group​.

  • Interested in running a pub? You can find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy on the MA’s​ property site​.

Related topics: Property law, Ei Group

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