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One of Britain’s biggest pub companies reveals plans to IPO

Naomi Ackerman
·2-min read
<p>FTSE 250 property firm NewRiver’s pub company, Hawthorn, is behind more than 700 inns around the UK</p> (PA)

FTSE 250 property firm NewRiver’s pub company, Hawthorn, is behind more than 700 inns around the UK

(PA)

One of Britain's biggest pub companies has revealed plans to float.

FTSE 250 property firm NewRiver's pub company, Hawthorn, is behind more than 700 inns. 

NewRiver entered the pub sector in December 2013 with the acquisition of 202 pubs from Marston's, and bought operator Hawthorn in 2018 for £107 million. Along with Admiral and Punch Taverns, Hawthorn is now one of the main companies behind Britain's wet-led pubs - pubs where most revenues are made from drinks sales.  

NewRiver said on Wednesday that Hawthorn is considering an IPO to be led by British Beer and Pub Association and firm board member, Mark Davies, who took the reins at Hawthorn in 2019.

Davies told the Standard he is "super excited" and that the IPO will help the company "scale and deliver" and achieve its aim of becoming the "number-one community pub company in the UK".

He said: "There's very strong pent-up demand out there for community pubs right now, particularly those in suburban locations where we have the majority of our portfolio.

"There's less competition, there's less supply in the market.”

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NewRiver boss Allan Lockhart said: "We're very confident of delivering a successful outcome. The IPO market has been very healthy, and we think this is going to be received very well in the capital markets... As an independent company Hawthorne will have a very strong balance sheet with no debt, which is really in stark contrast to many other pub companies. 

"There is going to be consolidation in the market over the coming years, and Hawthorne will be able to participate in that. 

"We feel that Hawthorne will be able to grow faster as an independent company."

NewRiver said its strategic priority "is to divest ourselves of our community pub business in order to reset our LTV and provide the firepower to reshape our portfolio".

Jefferies and Liberum are advising on the potential IPO.

In the past, NewRiver has bought and kept open pub sites, and used sites' car parks to build Co-op convenience stores, or for other retail opportunities. 

The news comes after former Greene King boss Rooney Anand raised over £500 million to snap up pandemic-hit pubs while they are going cheap.

Last month his new RedCat Pub Company announced it had bought 42 pubs in England and Wales from Slug & Lettuce and Yates’s owner, Stonegate. 

NewRiver shares were up 3.3% in early trading on Wednesday.

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