Punch Taverns has completed the conversion of 650 Spirit managed pubs three months ahead of schedule.
Punch acquired managed pub group Spirit in December 2005, picking up brands such as Tom Cobleigh and Bar Room Bar, as part of a 1,832 strong managed estate worth £2.7b.
Property agent Christie & Co was appointed in March 2006 to begin the conversion of a selected part of the estate to leased pubs.
At the outset Punch set an 18 month deadline but the process has been competed in 15.
Christie's head of public houses Colin Wellstead said: "The pubs in the Spirit estate had operated as managed houses for a number of years and were generally of exceptionally good quality, with average turnovers of between £450,000 and £500,000."
Many publicans never imagined that pubs of this quality would be available on the lease market, so the letting campaign generated incredible demand," he said.
Wellstead added that demand for pub properties was currently outstripping demand putting pub companies seeking lessees in an extremely strong position.
By Christopher Walton