Scottish pub group seeks £20m to fund expansion

UK independent pub group Bruce Group Scotland is looking to raise £20 million to fund an expansion across Edinburgh, at a time when pubs are said to be closing at a rate of 14 per week. 

The Royal Mile in Edinburgh

The Bruce Group already owns 19 pubs in and around Edinburgh, including the George IV Bar and Royal Mile Tavern, as well as clubs and music venues including Whistlebinkies and La Belle Angele.

The group, which was founded in 1999 by Kevan Fullerton and Scott Piatkowski, will issue a bond to fund growth over the next few years, as reported by the BBC.

Fullerton said: “We believe that the pub market currently offers excellent potential for growth and profitability and we have the scale, expertise and knowledge of the market to expand substantially in a relatively short timescale.

“We think that our model, extended across Edinburgh and into Glasgow and the central belt, will produce a profitable pub group which, although centrally owned and operated, retains the individual identity and character of each pub.

“We are not creating a chain, we are building a group of individual pubs which nonetheless benefit from experienced management, strong financial backing, and the cost savings which a large group can command.”

The bonds are being traded on the NEX Exchange Growth Market under the name Bruce Pubs plc, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bruce Group.

PUB CLOSURES

UK pubs are still closing at a rate of 14 per week

It comes at a time when UK pubs are still closing at a rate of 14 per week, according to the Campaign for Real Ale, prompting the organisation to renew calls for action from the Government to support pubs and prevent their permanent loss to communities.

The number of pub closures has dropped slightly from a rate of 18 a week last year, thanks in part to CAMRA’s success in achieving new local planning protection for pubs in England, but remains high at 14 a week.

Four years ago, the rate was much higher at a rate of 29 per week in 2014. Since then, a number of initiatives have been launched by CAMRA alongside MPs to ease the rate of decline in the on-trade.

“Pubs are a very important part of our national culture and are valuable community assets which help to combat loneliness and social isolation,” said Jackie Parker, CAMRA’s national chairman, at the time.

“It’s great we have seen a drop in the number of pubs closing, showing that our hard-fought campaign to get planning protection for pubs was worth it.”

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