Punch Taverns set to sell 158 pubs to NewRiver Retail for £53.5m

James Nickerson
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Punch Taverns will pay off some of its debt with the money raised from selling "non-core" pubs (Source: Punch Taverns)

Pub group Punch Taverns, which has a portfolio of around 3,500 pubs nationwide, is set to sell 158 pubs for £53.5m to reduce its debt.

NewRiver Retail is acquiring the pubs, having previously bought a portfolio of 202 pubs from rival Marston’s.

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Punch Taverns described the pubs as "non-core" to its estate. The company said in a statement the agreement was consistent with Punch’s strategy to sell "non-core" estate at a rate of approximately 200 pubs per year.

The company will have around 2,900 "core" pubs left after the deal, with 550 "non-core" estate pubs.

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Duncan Garrood, chief executive of Punch Taverns, said:

This transaction is in line with our stated strategy of disposing pubs within the non-core estate, reducing the overall level of our debt, while focusing on our higher quality core pub estate.

The deal is expected to be completed on 11 September, with the cash used to close a net debt of £1.5bn that Punch Taverns reported in March.

The deal works out at an average of £340,000 per pub, with the pubs being disposed having generated earnings before interest and tax of £7.3m over the last twelve months.

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