Nomura splits pub chain in two

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NOMURA IS splitting its Inntrepreneur pub group in two and creating Britain's biggest tenanted pub estate in the process. The Japanese investment bank is putting 2,600 pubs into a new company, as yet unnamed, which will be headed by Giles Thorley and will be worth up to pounds 900 million.

Inntrepreneur will retain 1,400 pubs, including 300 where the tenants are in litigation with the company over alleged restrictive supply agreements inherited from the chain's previous owners.

Mr Thorley, 31, helped negotiate Nomura's original acquisition of Inntrepreneur from Grand Metropolitan and Fosters Brewing last year for pounds 1.2 billion. The former barrister will join the fledgling company today and it will be officially launched in September.

Mr Thorley says he is looking for novel ways of financing the new chain, including securitisation, and that Nomura is likely to reduce its stake in the new company.

All the pubs in the new company will benefit from Nomura's SupplyLine formula which allows access to 21 beer suppliers and 140 other products at discount prices through a "one- stop shop."

Mr Thorley will take with him a group of directors from Inntrepreneur including those responsible for operations, commercial, SupplyLine, property, human resources and finance.

Of the remaining 1,400 outlets, those in litigation are awaiting the outcome of several test cases which should establish the basis for a wider settlement with Nomura.