UK-based pub group Marston’s is set to “dispose of” £50m ($63m) of non-core and unlicensed properties, it revealed in a trading update this week.

The group, which operates 1,395 pubs, expects to sell £50m worth of sites this financial year, having already completed £9.6m in the first half.

Since the end of the opening half, circa £16m of additional disposals have either been made or assets exchanged, according to Marston’s.

Wolverhampton-headquartered Marston’s has been working to reduce its debt pile in recent months after struggling during the pandemic and a cost-of-living crisis, labelling it a “key focus” for the rest of this year.

The business said its debt excluding IFRS 16 lease liabilities was £1.16bn on 30 March, down 2% from the end of its last financial year. According to Reuters, that is more than five times its market value of £213.4m.

CEO Justin Platt said: “We have managed costs well and made further progress to reduce debt. This performance is testament to the dedication and hard work of our talented team, who constantly strive to delight our pub-loving guests.”

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“The outlook for H2 is encouraging. With a number of ‘must not miss’ major sporting events, our massively upgraded pub gardens and much-loved food menus, we expect our pubs to be very popular this summer.”

Marston’s first-half revenue was up 5.2% to £428m. Statutory pre-tax losses went from £38.1m to £43.5m while, on an underlying level, they reduced from £3.6m to £800,000.

Meanwhile, underlying pub operating profit rose 22% to £52.7m.

Platt added: “Reflecting on my first few months with Marston’s, I am very excited by the potential that lies ahead. The UK Pub Market offers significant value-driving opportunities for those who can engage and deliver for their guests.”

Last month, UK peer Stonegate Pub Company revealed it may struggle to refinance its debt of £2.2bn ($2.8bn).

The owner of bar chains Slug & Lettuce and Be At One revealed “there is a risk” its hefty debt cannot be refinanced by the deadline of July 2025, despite a plan being “in place”.