The government-backed Business Growth Fund (BGF) has committed £8 million to acquisitive pub chain Wear Inns, with venture capitalist NVM Private Equity topping up the investment to £10 million.
BGF will take a minority stake in the company and a representative of the fund join the existing board. NVM has been an investor in Wear Inns since 2006, when the business was founded by local entrepreneurs John Weir and John Sands, now CEO and chairman respectively.
With revenues of £7.3 million, Wear Inns has 15 sites and plans to acquire more over the coming months with the aid of the new funding. It expects to create 40 new jobs in the process. Until now, it has grown through acquiring pubs from chains such as Mitchells and Butler and Greene King.
Weir remarks, ‘Since starting the business six years ago, we have worked with NVM’s support to build up an estate of great community pubs offering good value and good quality across the North of England. We have now reached a point where we want to take that approach a step further with the goal of growing our estate over the next few years.’
The company claims that turnover at pubs it has acquired has grown by an average of 90 per cent in the six months after taking them over and refurbishing them.
David Coclough, investment director at BGF, comments of the fund’s partnership with NVM, ‘This is another great example of where BGF can complement existing investments with supplementary capital. Partnership is integral to the way that BGF operates and we will increasingly look to work with private equity firms, angel investors, venture capital trusts and others to expand the growth capital available for small and medium sized UK businesses.’
Wear Inns’ 15 sites include The Townhouse in Whitley Bay, Millstone in Gosforth, Black Bull in East Boldon, Cross Keys in Washington, Guidepost in Springwell, New Inn in Durham, Priory in York, New Inn in Wetherby, The Sun in Shipley and the Courthouse in Barnsley.