Tring-based pub operator Oakman Inns & Restaurants has acquired The Royal Foresters, a former Beefeater and Premier Inn, in Ascot for £3.6 million, as it chases further expansion with plans for two further sites.
The deal, which completed on December 30, will see Oakman invest a further £3.5m on developing the site into a 10,000 sq. ft. Oakman Inn with rooms. Work is due to start in the spring with completion expected this autumn.
Contracts have also been exchanged for the freehold of 10 Akeman Street in Tring, allowing the company to extend its current flagship site. Oakman has also submitted a planning application to convert a freehold, former nursing home in Olney to an Oakman Inn.
Expansion is being funded by a £7million senior debt and growth capital facility, as well as private fund-raising effort which aims to raise £10 million via its ‘Oakman Bond’. The company says it has already raised £5.9 million against that total.
CEO, Peter Borg-Neal, said: ‘The acquisition of The Royal Foresters is hugely significant for Oakman Inns. I admired this site when I was at Whitbread and have coveted it ever since. It is a huge investment for us but we are confident that we have the skills to get strong returns from our investment.’
The company also recently expanded its board with the appointment of former Intertain CEO, John Leslie as non-executive director. It was announced in early December that Stonegate had acquired the 30-strong Walkabout operator.
Trading for the four-week trading period ending January 1 2017 showed total Oakman sales were up 30.5%, with like-for-like sales up 6.7%. Average sales per site over the 15 fully developed Oakman Inns was £182,334.
Borg-Neal added: ‘The current year is going exceptionally well and we are considerably ahead of our budget for the year. We saw some choppiness with respect to sales at the beginning of Q3 but a stellar performance over Christmas has got us back on target.’
The company has already has five sites with letting rooms, including: the Kings Arms, Berkhamsted; Blue Boar, Witney; Crown & Thistle in Abingdon; The Globe in Warwick; and Banyers House, Royston which opened in December.