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Marston’s sells 137 pubs to Admiral Taverns

The brewer said it was focused on its objective of reducing net debt by £200mln by 2023 or earlier

Marston’s plc - Marston’s sells 137 pubs to rival Admiral Taverns
The venues have book value of £63mln

Marston’s plc (LON:MARS) has agreed to sell 137 pubs to rival Admiral Taverns for £45mln, as part of the FTSE 250-listed publican’s strategy to reduce debt by disposing of non-core assets.

The venues, sold at a loss to the book value of £63mln, generated underlying earnings of £5mln and operating profit of £4mln in the year to 28 September, the company said in a statement.

READ: Marston’s to sell an extra £30mln in assets to boost debt reduction

The disposal will increase the average profit per pub in the retained estate by 7% and return on capital by 0.2%, with completion expected before the end of November.

Chester-based "community pub" specialist Admiral is owned by US private equity group Proprium Capital Partners and Magers owner C&C Group.

“We remain focused on our stated objective of reducing our net debt by £200mln by 2023 or earlier, and thereafter operating a high-quality business generating consistent net cashflow, after dividends, of at least £50mln per annum,” said Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay in the release.

In the summer, the pubco said it had decided to accelerate its debt-reduction plans, deferring £70mln of the new-build investment planned for the next three years and spending more on pub refurbs.

Marston's shares were up 1% to 124.37p on Monday morning. 

Quick facts: Marston’s PLC

Price: 67.65 GBX

AIM:MARS
Market: AIM
Market Cap: £446.74 m
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