UK: Greene King swallows Punch Taverns pubs

By | 9 June 2009

Greene King, the UK beer and pub group, has taken advantage of funds raised via a recent rights issue by acquiring 11 pubs owned by rival Punch Taverns for GBP30.4m (US$49m).

The cash deal, which covers freehold pubs in London, southeast England and Scotland, is expected to be complete by 1 July, said both Greene King and Punch Taverns today (9 June).

The move comes barely a week after Greene King issued more than 80m new shares in order to raise an acquisition warchest of around GBP200m.

Lower property prices and financial difficulties faced by some of Greene King's pub chain rivals, including Punch, have the firm looking to expand its portfolio.

Punch CEO Giles Thorley said: "This transaction is in line with our stated strategy of increasing free cash flow and reducing the overall level of our debt, whilst seeking to maintain investment in our high-quality pub estate."

Greene King CEO Rooney Anand said: "I am really pleased we have been able to acquire these high quality assets, further strengthening our presence in two key geographies for us. They also match the criteria we set out when announcing our recent rights issue."

Earlier this year, Greene King, which brews Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, reported nine-month sales ahead of the UK market.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Greene King

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