SA Brain to invest in pub portfolio and expand coffee business with support of £85m funding package

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L to r:  Nick Stork relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, Warren Lewis, head of HSBC corporate banking Wales, Martin Reed, finance director of SA Brain & Co, John Rhys, chairman of S.A. Brain & Co and Mike Kear, relationship director at HSBC Corporate Banking Wales

L to r: Nick Stork relationship director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, Warren Lewis, head of HSBC corporate banking Wales, Martin Reed, finance director of SA Brain & Co, John Rhys, chairman of S.A. Brain & Co and Mike Kear, relationship director at HSBC Corporate Banking Wales

Leading Welsh brewer and hospitality retailer S.A. Brain & Co has agreed an £85m funding package, jointly provided by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and HSBC Corporate Banking.

The funding constitutes a re-financing of the company’s existing debt and provides the necessary resources for investment in its portfolio of 231 Public Houses and acceleration of the roll-out of the award-winning Coffee#1 chain.

A large scale investment programme in modernisation and improvement of Brains’ estate of both managed and leased & tenanted pubs is planned.

Coffee#1 was established in Cardiff in 2001 and now operates 57 coffee shops located throughout Wales, the South-West, the South Coast and the Midlands. The business was purchased by Brains in 2011 and the funding package will facilitate further geographic expansion.

Brains has an annual turnover of £123m and employs over 2,000 people at its Head Office in Cardiff and across its portfolio of retail operations.

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking and HSBC Corporate Banking worked together as joint banking partners and each provided £42.5million to the business. The Lloyds Bank team was led by relationship director Nick Stork, while senior relationship director Mike Kear led HSBC’s team in Cardiff.

Martin Reed, finance director at SA Brain, said: “Brains operates in a competitive market place and the requirement for constant improvements to our pub estate is critical to our business. We own a portfolio of outstanding assets and this funding will allow us to further leverage these and better meet the needs of our customers.

“The roll-out of Coffee#1 has been a huge success, with consumers enjoying our unique mix of outstanding coffee, characterful coffee houses and customer-focused service. The acceleration of our store roll-out programme into new areas will capitalise on this and introduce our popular Coffee#1 brand to new audiences across the UK.

“The funding and ongoing support provided by Lloyds Bank and HSBC is fundamental to driving long-term business growth. We look forward to continuing to work with both our banking partners as we further develop our business.”

Jason Evans, area director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in Wales, said: “Brains has long been renowned for its award-winning beers and impressive portfolio of pubs. The acquisition and successful expansion of Coffee#1 has complemented the business and helped it to reach a broader audience.

“The business is a prominent local employer and this funding will help create hundreds of new jobs, further driving economic growth. We are proud to support the business throughout its journey and play our part to help Britain prosper.”

Warren Lewis, HSBC dead of corporate banking in Wales, added: “We’re committed to helping businesses realise their ambitions, so we are very pleased to continue our support of one of Wales’ most iconic and well-loved brands. Brains is an extremely well-run business with a clear strategy for growth in a dynamic market place. This new funding will help Brains to maintain its position as one of the leading businesses in the hospitality sector as well as a significant employer.”