Case study: How Hall & Woodhouse refinanced

Hall & Woodhouse Portishead
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M&G Investments recently provided a £20m, 10-year loan to independent brewer and pub owner Hall & Woodhouse. AccountingWEB's Robert Lovell caught up with company FD Martin Scott and head of direct lending at M&G, James Pearce, to find out about the nuts and bolts of the funding process.



Hall & Woodhouse (H&W) is a family-owned brewer founded in 1777 and is perhaps best known for its animal-themed beer range, including Badger, Tanglefoot and Fursty Ferret.

It currently employs over 1,400 staff and runs more than 200 public houses mostly across the South West. The company also has ambitious plans to continue growing.

Due to the longevity of the Dorset-based business, H&W wanted to secure long-term finance to align debt and underpin its plans to acquire and develop new pubs around the country.

When its existing bank facility approached the end of its terms, the company was open to treading a different finance path.

“We’ve got a club funding facility with Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC, and we had some of that money rolling off in March of this current financial year. So we went to market about a year ago to start looking for alternatives,” explained H&W finance director Martin Scott.

“We just really wanted to diversify and lengthen the finance facility...

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  • The funding process
  • Financing facility nuts and bolts
  • Benefits and impact of the deal
  • Conclusion

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About Robert Lovell

Business and finance journalist


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    By AngieR
    30th Jan 2014 14:50


    There's a lot of failing Pubs that H&W turnaround and good for them! There's also a lot more tied tenants that turn Pub Company property developers failing Pubs around such as Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns, however the tied tenants earn just 15k on average pa and the big Pubco's and big breweries take a greater share of the profits with charging unfair high rents and the wet rent (tied beer prices at over double the price that a freehouse tenant pays) thus resulting in the efficient pub operator tenant not being able to afford to survive with some claiming tax credits. It's the big pubco scandal that is costing the government a fortune with tied tenants being forced into bankruptcy by the debt ridden Pubco's. Roll on Pubco reform stat code with adjudicator - which may I add  H&W appose! I do hope they don't become like the bigger Breweries and Pub Companies who just use and 'churn' their tenants no matter that a high % of tenants have improved and made good. Pub company Directors fail their tenants. Tenants do not fail in their businesses! Approximately 85% of tied tenants are unhappy with the tie!   

    Thanks (1)
    30th Jan 2014 16:00

    I'll drink to that!

    It would be interesting to see the stats. We have been looking as pub/restaurants for my son and the tied house route seems ludicrous and relies on a cheap ingoing’s for those with more enthusiasm than sense who give it their all only to make peanuts or fail, but no worry there will be more in queue. As long as it is a dream so the breweries will make a good living on the backs of these folk. But how to change it?

    Thanks (0)
    01st Feb 2014 11:48

    They really are different

    I just need to comment from experience with H&W. We had a tenancy with them and also an Enterprise lease so we can compare. Hall & Woodhouse are in a totally different league when it comes to a tied tenancy - they actually care. When prices were going through the roof from Enterprise, H&W were holding theirs and taking the hit themselves not putting in onto their tenants. They want their tenants to earn good money even if they earn a little less and they see the benefit to themselves of holding onto good, successful tenants. They listen! I would thoroughly recommend them to anyone wanting to get their own pub.

    Thanks (1)
    04th Feb 2014 11:17

    Things have changed

    In the 1970s to 1990s Hall and Woodhouse had the stinkiest toilets in the South - even in their Steak Houses. And they had no care for their brand with no real ale in loads of the pubs

    Then a few years ago they started to appear at the Great British Beer Festival and the toilets put Wetherspoons to shame.

    So a very welcome culture change. Well done

    Thanks (0)