Spitfire owner lands five new pubs and draws down £25m from lenders

Oliver Gill
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Chief exec Jonathan Neame. The brewer traces operations back to 1698 and now runs 328 pubs across the south of England

The brewer best known for its Spitfire ale has agreed to splash-out £12m for five high-end Kent boozers.

Shepherd Neame will buy Village Green Restaurants from Alex and Helen Bensley, who run the pubs in and around the garden of England.

The five premises are no slouches, raking in an average of more than a million pounds of revenue each every year and together generating £900,000 of profit.

Read more: Shepherd Neame raises glass to Enterprise home counties pubs acquisition

The brewer, which also runs hotels, re-jigged its bank lending, withdrawing an extra £25m from its revolving credit facility. Total bank debt now stands at £105m.

Shepherd Neame said the acquisition was "in line with the company's strategy to acquire high quality sites with unique character in landmark or high profile locations and to develop its offer to enhance the customer experience through great fresh food".

Today's purchase follows the acquisition of seven pubs from Enterprise Inns in June and record annual sales announced in September.

Read more: Shepherd Neame toasts acquisition of eight pubs from Enterprise Inns

Meanwhile, the Bensley's said they were "delighted to pass the baton to a local, longstanding family business such as Shepherd Neame."

Chief exec of the Shepherd Neame, Jonathan Neame said: "Over recent years we have transformed our pub profile, greatly developed our food offer and enhanced the experience for our customers and this is another important development in our strategy."

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