Pub company Shepherd Neame buys five restaurants in Kent for £11.9 million

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Beer and pub company Shepherd Neame has bought a chain of five restaurants in Kent for £11.9 million.

The Faversham-based brewer, which employs about 1,300 people, has taken control of Village Green Restaurants from owners Alex and Helen Bensley.

Its new additions include the Oak on the Green and the Fish on the Green in Bearsted, the Old Mill in Kennington, the Chequers on the Green in High Halden and the Swan and Dog in Great Chart.

The Oak on the Green in Bearsted
The Oak on the Green in Bearsted

The restaurants had a combined turnover of £6.6 million and an operating profit of £900,000 in the year to October 2015.

To fund the takeover, Shepherd Neame has extending its revolving credit facility – a rolling loan agreement with the bank – from £20 million to £45 million.

It means the company has access to bank finance worth £105 million.

Chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “We are delighted to welcome the team from Village Green Restaurants to Shepherd Neame.

“Over recent years we have transformed our pub profile, greatly developed our food offer and enhanced the experience for our customers and this is another important development in our strategy.

The Old Mill in Kennington, near Ashford
The Old Mill in Kennington, near Ashford

“We are hugely impressed by what Alex and Helen and their team have achieved and we look forward to continuing their great work.”

Alex Bensley, chief executive of Village Green Restaurants, said: “Helen and I are proud of the business we have built and delighted to pass the baton to a local, longstanding family business such as Shepherd Neame.”

Shepherd Neame, which makes ales like Spitfire and Master Brew, sold 71 million pints last year, some of which was exported to more than 35 countries.

It operates 328 pubs, of which 267 are tenanted or leased and 54 managed. Another seven are held as investment properties.

The Village Green Restaurants will come under the firm's managed division.

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