Barkby Group Seeks to Dispose 9-Pub Estate

In a trading and strategy update, the Barkby Group has announced it is looking to dispose of its nine pubs.

It comes after the group previously announced in July that it was looking to dispose of all non-core assets, apart from its premium gastropub business.

In a trading and strategy statement , the group said:
“In our July 2022 update, the board announced it had determined to focus on roadside property development and investment and to dispose of all the group’s other businesses and investments. As we move towards implementing this strategic change, we expect all non-core businesses, including Barkby Pub Co, will not form part of the group moving forward. In recent months, we have met a number of prospective institutional investors and have received positive feedback around scaling our roadside property investment and development business and continue to explore doing so.”

The group also reported revenue in its pub business was down 3% down year-on-year, “broadly in line with the overall sector as household spending decreases”. It said Christmas bookings look “strong” and it remains optimistic for a strong festive trading period. The group said the majority of the energy contracts at its pubs were fixed in December 2020 until December 2023, “so the business is well protected from the wider energy cost pressures facing the industry”. It added inflationary pressures on labour, food and drink margins “are in line with the wider hospitality sector”.

Barkby Group also revealed a sales process was launched for Workshop Coffee in September, which has coincided with “a strong recovery in the business as it returns to pre-pandemic levels”. It said the sales process is progressing, with discussions ongoing with a number of interested parties under non-disclosure agreements.

Commenting, Charles Dickson, Executive Chairman, said:
“Following on from our July announcement we have made good progress in streamlining the Group. We have completed the sale of our stake in Verso Biosense and made further progress exiting the remaining non-core businesses.

We remain focussed on scaling the real estate business, with a particular focus on high quality modern sustainable roadside developments in the form of drive-thru’s, trade counter, last mile logistics, convenience food, EV charging hubs and light industrial commercial buildings. Our view is that this strategy, once scaled, has the ability to deliver double digit annualised total accounting returns.”