In September, Downing LLP became the majority shareholder in the group, and committed to funding further growth through acquisitions and investment into the existing business.
In the past year, the company has bolstered its board and management team by promoting Andrew Crawford to the role of managing director in September 2022.
The company has also increased the size of its pubs’ freehold estate by around 50%, which included an acquisition of a portfolio of five pubs in June 2023, and has several other freehold acquisitions in the pipeline.
Crawford said the recent acquisitions and investment underlined the business’ commitment to expanding our high-quality estate of pubs.
He continued: “I am very excited to progress our discussions for further acquisitions in the coming months, which will support the Group’s bid to become a market leader in its chosen regions.
“I value the support from Downing, which will allow me and my team to take the Group into the next phase of its evolution.”
Downing provided the funds to refinance the group’s bank debt from NatWest in May 2023.
More changes have also been made to the senior management team. For instance, Sarah Strachan (formerly of Punch Pubs) has been appointed as the new chief financial officer in 2023.
Mark Crowther was also appointed as the non-executive chairman in October 2022 and Colin Corbally as an independent non-executive director in December 2022.
Crowther said he was “confident” the group would continue to expand as opportunities arose, therefore creating a “high-quality leading regional pub business”.
Furthermore, the group is accelerating the deployment of investment into its existing business, including undertaking refurbishments across its existing estate of pubs, implementing a new financial reporting system at its head office in Derbyshire, and installing a new electric point of sale solution across its entire estate.
Downing has set aside a significant amount of capital for further acquisitions and investment, with no near to medium-term requirement to raise funding from third-party lenders.
The group is focused on acquisitions where it believes it can deploy capital investment to rejuvenate underinvested or undermanaged pubs to achieve minimum net weekly sales of £10,000.
Furthermore, the company claimed it has continued to trade strongly, with year-to-date revenues and EBITDA ahead of the business plan, with its recently acquired pubs trading ahead of initial expectations.
Downing investment director Gautam Chhabra said: “Pub People has performed strongly despite the current economic uncertainty and conditions, and its success is a testament to the focus of its management team.
“The Group’s management team and Downing will continue to evaluate new acquisitions and investment opportunities, and we are committed to substantially increasing the size of the Group’s freehold estate and geographical footprint.
“We believe we can continue to execute deals that are attractive for sellers and us and especially for the local communities these pubs serve.”