The Publican - September 24, 2009
Enterprise Inns could offload a further 100 pubs through sale and leaseback deals if the seven sites it is looking to sell and let back at next month’s auction are snapped up by investors.
Earlier this week the pubco revealed it was putting seven London pubs on the market and said it hoped to raise up to £15m via a sale and leaseback arrangement.
The money raised would be used to pay down some of the company’s £1bn bank debt.
Ted Tuppen, Enterprise’s chief executive told The Publican the group had a small lease rental bill – around £3m annually – and could easily afford to pay the combined rent of £990,000 for all seven pubs.
“This is an attractive proposition for people with cash to invest, one that will get them a return of around six per cent a year with a blue chip company,” Tuppen said.
“It will also give a strong indication as to underpinning the value of the pubs on our balance sheet,” he added.
If the auction proved successful Tuppen said he could see up to 100 or so more Enterprise pubs being sold and subsequently leased back.
However some observers have criticised the rents being offered for the pubs as being unrealistic. One property expert said the investment community would “spot this deal for what it is; over-rentalised”.
However Tuppen was unfazed by such comments. “If the rents are deemed too high by potential investors then the pubs won’t sell,” he said.
Tuppen said the move to a sale and leaseback programme was just another way in which the pubco was looking at its financing arrangements.
Sources meanwhile suggested the group had exceeded the £100m proceeds it was looking to achieve through pub disposals during the year.
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