H&W disposed of nine sites in September, which were acquired by Red Oak Taverns. At the time, H&W managing director Matt Kearsey said: “[We] made the decision to sell these pubs to take advantage of strong demand, in order to reinvest in other properties that are better aligned to the long-term strategy of our excellent business partnership estate.”
H&W property director Mark James said of the company’s current situation: “We continually look to evolve as a business by proactively managing our estate and investing in pubs of the future.”
Adding real quality
James continued: “We are seeing some good opportunities at the moment and our recent acquisitions add real quality, with many located in popular tourist locations across the south of England. These acquisitions will also significantly increase our bedroom stock.
“Hall & Woodhouse is ending the year in a strong position. We will continue to seek out further opportunities to grow through high-quality acquisitions that complement and enhance our existing estate.”
Recent acquisitions include Masons Arms, Odcombe; Hit or Miss, Amersham; Old Ship Aground, Minehead; and the Dolphin Hotel, Bovey Tracey. The pipeline of acquisitions also includes further sites in Devon, Dorset and Surrey.
Recovery in progress
In October, H&W reported a fall in turnover of 38.7% to £71.5m for the year ending 30 January 2021. It also announced it had limited operating cash loss after interest and tax to £4.5m for the same period. Since year end, the business also confirmed Barclays has won the mandate to be the company’s sole strategic banking partner, refinancing all its banking facilities by providing a £45m facility with a tenor of three years as well as other banking services.
At the time executive chairman Anthony Woodhouse said: “Hall & Woodhouse is not only surviving the pandemic but is well placed to recover quickly.” He cited three primary reasons for this being the case that were the business being built on a freehold basis with limited borrowings, the work undertaken to put the company into “battle formation” during the pandemic and then to safely open a number of times, and the family culture that supported the team, business partners and communities throughout Covid.
H&W has about 170 pubs that make up its managed house and Business Partner (tenanted) estate across the south of England and brews the Badger Ales brand.