Geronimo expands its pub chain with Punch purchases

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The Independent Online

Pubs chain Geronimo Inns has secured £10m in funding from its private equity and banking backers to buy six London pubs from Punch Taverns.

The group, which operates 22 pubs in the capital, is thought to have secured the businesses being sold by Punch, which last year put more than 500 of its pubs up for sale amid crippling debt obligations. Punch reports results next week which are likely to show a trading upturn.

Geronimo, which was recently named small pub company of the year by Publican magazine, last year posted operating profits of around £600,000. A Geronimo spokesman declined to comment.

News of Geronimo's acquisitions comes as the chain Bar Room Bar Limited, which operates 13 bars across the UK, was forced into administration. The Birmingham-based group, which employs 250 staff, collapsed after what the administrators, Zolfo Cooper, described as ongoing cash-flow difficulties. Three of the chain's bars have already closed but Nick Cropper from Zolfo Cooper, said that the remainder would continue to trade until a buyer could be found.

Estimates suggest that 39 pubs close in the UK each week. Last year 1,973 pubs closed, 40 per cent up on 2007.