Although there will be a focus on managed houses, Townsend said it would ensure the business continued to focus on a variety of models, including tenanted and leased as well as other options.
While there are plans to grow Ei’s managed operation, the partnerships side of the business would be enhanced, as it “underpins our strategy”, he added.
Ei Group’s net income
Speaking at MCA’s Tenanted Pub Company Summit in London, he said managed houses currently generate 8% of Ei’s net income, while partnerships and free-of-tie sites contributed 85% and 7% respectively.
“The segmentation model we built three years ago to help us understand the supply and demand of market places allows us to have the best chances of success,” said Townsend.
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“What the managed house businesses do really well is take innovation from elsewhere. We’re trying to find those pockets of best practice and show them to our partners.”
The transformation of pubcos over the years had been “breathtaking”, seeing businesses offer a wide range of options, rather than one model.
“We did not feel that the model was broken or wrong, but insufficient on its own when you’re trying to maximise an income profile,” he said.
“The objective for us is about constantly improving earnings and we’ve been able to do that consistently since we’ve had our strategy in place.”
It was clear Ei’s approach was working as, for the last 22 quarters, the business had seen like-for-like growth.
Some £150m had been pumped into the business over the past three years, with plans to continue.