Investors invited to sup at the Tup

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The Independent Online
In What he describes as an "unusual outbreak of sensible behaviour" legendary pub entrepreneur Hugh "Sooty" Corbett is bringing his Tup Inns chain to the Alternative Investment Market, writes Richard Halstead.

"I have reached the stage where I can manage the pubs on my own and pay for new ones out of my own pocket - and not grow very much," Mr Corbett said. "I would rather have 12 pubs open by the year 2000, and I will need outside funding for that."

Mr Corbett wants to raise between pounds 1m and pounds 1.5m by issuing new shares to fund expansion of his chain, which is so far confined to three pubs in London. He said the company would recruit a full-time finance director to the board.

The float would value the company at between pounds 3.5m and pounds 4m, based on the Tups' predicted profits for 1997 of around pounds 350,000 after tax.

Mr Corbett plans to open three more pubs, which feature particularly frisky-looking male sheep on their signs and offer a modern, relaxed "foodie pub" experience for customers, before the float, which is scheduled for summer 1997. Two will be on sites in London's West End, while the third will be in Oxford.