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Oakman Inns acquires six former Seafood Pub Company sites

Oakman Group’s Exec Chair Peter Borg-Neal & CEO Dermot King Cropped – MED RES

The Oakman Group has acquired six properties from the administrators of Seafood Pub Company Holdings Limited.

The six pubs – Alma Inn, Colne; Berby Arms, Longridge; Farmers Arms, Great Eccleston; Fenwick arms, Claughton; Fleece Inn Addingham and Forest Inn, Fence – will help strengthen’s Oakman Group’s footprint in the north, with new manager Joycelyn Neve also appointed to head up a new Northern Division for the Tring-based business.

10 properties comprising the Seafood Pub Company went into administration in June, as its owners fell into financial trouble accelerated by lockdown. The portfolio went up for sale in September 2020.

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Now the six sites takes Oakman Group one step closer to its ambition of 40 pubs in the collection by the end of 2021.

The Seafood Pub brand will be retained and run alongside the Group’s Oakman Inns and Beech House brands within the portfolio.

CEO at Oakman Group, Dermot King said: “I am delighted that we have acquired these sites which will be the foundation stone for the third brand within our group – with the Seafood Pub joining the Oakman Inns and Beech House brands within our portfolio.

“Furthermore, these acquisitions will represent the next stage in our strategic development as we look to extend our boundaries beyond our Home Counties heartland.

“We believe that there is significant untapped potential, in the premium pub sector, and I am not placing any upper limits on our ambition.”

Oakman Group founder and chairman, Peter Borg-Neal, added: “This acquisition has given Dermot and myself the opportunity to review our structure to ensure we are ready for our next stage of growth. So, I am also delighted to announce that Alex Ford, until recently operations director, has been appointed managing director of Oakman Inns and will also report directly to Dermot King. By having these two very talented young operators reporting into a CEO of Dermot’s experience and standing, I believe we are very well placed to move forward with confidence.”

Noel Moffitt, senior director, Christie & Co, who handled the sale on behalf of the administrators, BDO, commented: “The portfolio of Inns attracted a huge amount of interest from a wide range of potential buyers including corporate, regional and local operators, as well as a number of high net-worth individuals.

“The deal demonstrates that the market is not as depressed as many would have you believe, although we are waiting for further clarity on the rent moratorium at the end of March and, if this isn’t extended, it is likely we may see more distressed assets coming to the market.”

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Zoe Monk

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