Marston's exits brewing to focus on pubs

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

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Marston’s has announced the sale of the remainder of its brewing operations as it refocuses its business to entirely focus on running its pub estate.

The former Midlands-based brewer said it was selling the remaining non-core brewing assets with a “binding agreement to sell the whole of its 40 percent interest Carlsberg Marston’s Limited (CMBC) to a subsidiary of Carlsberg A/S” for £206m in cash.

CMBC was formed in 2020, combining the drinks and brewing portfolio of Carlsberg and Marston’s, leaving the Midlands business free to focus more on invigorating and innovating its pub estate.

The final sale of the remainder of its brewery operations frees the company to focus entirely on its pub operations and future growth, removing the “distraction” of it’s non-core assets, the company said.

Chief executive officer Justin Platt said: “Today’s announcement represents a significant milestone for Marston’s as we realise our stake in CMBC. In my first six months with the business, it has become very clear to me that our core capability and key opportunity to unlock value for shareholders is in driving a focused and successful pub business.

“This deal further strengthens our balance sheet, significantly reducing our debt by over £200 million. In addition, CMBC remain valued strategic partners and we continue to benefit from our ongoing long-term brand distribution agreement with them. 

“Crucially, it allows us to become a pure play hospitality business and focus on what we do best – namely, giving our guests amazing pub experiences. I look forward to delivering on the opportunities a focused pub business will provide to ensure we maximise value for our shareholders.”

Marston’s said its pub business was built on strong fundamentals; a suburban-dominated, predominantly freehold estate of c.1,370 pubs combined with a balance of managed and partnership (‘franchised’), tenanted and leased pubs.

CMBC will continue to supply Marston’s through the long-term brand distribution agreement that was entered into upon formation of CMBC in 2020 and the company added that it looks forward to continuing its strong partnership with CMBC as a customer.

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