Pubmaster rents cut by deal

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The Independent Online
BRENT Walker's Pubmaster chain has arranged the acquisition by Scottish Amicable and Strathclyde Regional Council of the freeholds of 641 pubs that Pubmaster leases from Allied Domecq, writes John Willcock.

Pubmaster will benefit from 'substantially' lower rents than it paid to Allied when it originally leased the pubs three years ago. The 1,905-strong chain also gets the right to buy a fifth of the pubs every five years.

The pub leases have been bought for pounds 79m with pounds 74.25m paid by ScotAm, and pounds 4.75m by Pubmaster for furniture and fittings.

John Brackenbury, chairman of Pubmaster, said: 'We are taking advantage of the falling interest rates and pub values since we leased the pubs from Allied three years ago. He said the group planned to float Pubmaster within the next three years - 'probably within the next 15 months'.

Brent Walker is still struggling under debts of pounds 1.4bn and reported a pre-tax loss of pounds 319m for 1993. Rising operating profits were wiped out by a pounds 200m interest bill. Pubmaster contributed a profit of pounds 11.1m against pounds 12.5m the previous year.