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Spirit says no immediate plans to sell Premier Lodge

Horeca

Spirit Group said today it had no immediate plans to sell off the 130-strong Premier Lodge chain of budget hotels after winning the race to buy the pubs division of Scottish & Newcastle (S&N).

&N announced yesterday that it had agreed to sell its 1,400-strong pubs division to Spirit for more than £2.5b.

The division includes pub chains John Barras and Chef & Brewer as well as the Premier Lodge portfolio.

Observers thought that the eventual winner of the auction would be unlikely to want to hold onto the budget hotels, and rivals Travel Inn and Travelodge have both said they were interested in buying them.

But Spirit today moved to dampen speculation. A spokeswoman said: “At the moment we have no plans for that business. We have just made the acquisition so it’s too early to talk about it.

“Completion doesn’t happen until November and then we will untertake a review of the whole portfolio and see which bits are going to generate value in the long term.

“It’s not a given that Premier Lodge is going to be sold. It’s a fantastic business and Spirit does have some experience of co-siting pubs and lodges through our joint venture with Whitbread, Spirit Travel Inn.

“It’s something we might consider keeping on.” She added that Spirit was not in talks with any third parties at the moment about selling on Premier Lodge.

Spirit is also holding fire until after it has completed the review on deciding which of the pubs it will keep. The spokeswoman said: “The estates are very complementary. Spirit is very focused on Yorkshire and the north of England, while S&N has more of a London and South-east bias.

“Spirit are market leaders in drinks-led pubs and S&N have got very good food skills in brands such as Chef & Brewer.” The acquisition of S&N Retail will create an estate of some 2,470 outlets, making Spirit the UK’s biggest operator of managed pubs.

&N announced yesterday that it had agreed to sell its 1,400-strong pubs division to Spirit for more than £2.5b.

The division includes pub chains John Barras and Chef & Brewer as well as the Premier Lodge portfolio.

Observers thought that the eventual winner of the auction would be unlikely to want to hold onto the budget hotels, and rivals Travel Inn and Travelodge have both said they were interested in buying them.

But Spirit today moved to dampen speculation. A spokeswoman said: “At the moment we have no plans for that business. We have just made the acquisition so it’s too early to talk about it.

“Completion doesn’t happen until November and then we will untertake a review of the whole portfolio and see which bits are going to generate value in the long term.

“It’s not a given that Premier Lodge is going to be sold. It’s a fantastic business and Spirit does have some experience of co-siting pubs and lodges through our joint venture with Whitbread, Spirit Travel Inn.

“It’s something we might consider keeping on.” She added that Spirit was not in talks with any third parties at the moment about selling on Premier Lodge.

Spirit is also holding fire until after it has completed the review on deciding which of the pubs it will keep. The spokeswoman said: “The estates are very complementary. Spirit is very focused on Yorkshire and the north of England, while S&N has more of a London and South-east bias.

“Spirit are market leaders in drinks-led pubs and S&N have got very good food skills in brands such as Chef & Brewer.” The acquisition of S&N Retail will create an estate of some 2,470 outlets, making Spirit the UK’s biggest operator of managed pubs.

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