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Extra finance from banks helps to boost sales of pub and clubs

By Staff Reporter

Published 13/10/2015

The Perch Bar, Belfast
The Perch Bar, Belfast

The licensed trade is benefiting from greater availability of bank finance, giving rise to more sales, a commercial property expert has said.

Mark Carron, a director at Osborne King, said that one reason for the growing amount of sales in the sector was that banks were more willing to lend to pub and nightclub ventures.

"Undoubtedly, the market has been buoyed by the improvement in finance credit available from our local banks whose balance sheets have been rebalanced following the discharge of property either on a piecemeal basis, or in sales of debt loan portfolios," he said.

"Indeed, our valuation team is seeing a significant increase in the banks seeking valuations in order to support fresh loans or refinancing debt with existing customers."

According to Mr Carron, there have been around 24 pub sales totalling £10m in Northern Ireland over the last 12 months.

He said that the number of distressed sales in the trade was falling. And in some cases, interest had been so healthy that bidding had taken place on some properties.

In addition, drinks companies were supporting pubs themselves in order to increase market share - for example, The Perch/Sweet Afton on Franklin Street in Belfast city centre was supported by Diageo.

And he said he expected more of the same.

"We expect further transactional activity and new outlets to open in the Belfast and Derry markets as operators such as Wetherspoons try to expand," he said. "Wetherspoons has acquired buildings on University Road and Royal Avenue in Belfast and has planning applications pending for change of use to public houses.

"The outcome of both proposals will take time, but will be followed with keen interest.

"However, for the remainder of 2015 we expect the licensed market to continue with good pace. However, as always the volume of transactions will be dictated by supply of stock."

Belfast Telegraph

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