Wear Inns secures £10m investment for expansion

08 May 2012
Wear Inns secures £10m investment for expansion

North-east and Yorkshire-based pub chain Wear Inns has secured £10m investment from two private equity funds to grow the business, with plans to acquire several more sites over the coming months.

The Business Growth Fund (BGF) has put £8m into the business, with a further £2m from NVM Private Equity. BGF will take a minority stake in the business and will join the existing board.

Wear Inns was founded in 2006 by entrepreneurs John Weir (chief executive) and John Sands (chairman), and has focused on the acquisition and management of freehold community pubs across the North-east and Yorkshire.

The business is headquartered in Billingham, County Durham, and currently employs 175 people. It has an estate of 15 sites.

This is a second investment for BGF in the North of England within six weeks, following its backing of Manchester and Leeds-based Mexican food chain Barburrito last month. NVM has backed Wear Inns since it was founded.

John Weir, co-founder and chief executive of Wear Inns, said: "Since starting the business six years ago, we have worked with NVM's support to build up an estate of great community pubs offering good value and good quality across the North of England. We have now reached a point where we want to take that approach a step further with the goal of growing our estate over the next few years. Any acquisition programme requires a level of financial flexibility. So we set out to find an additional partner who could support us in funding further acquisitions. We were also keen to work with like-minded people with a commitment to this region. BGF fits the bill and it's great to be working with them, as well as our existing backers, NVM."

Sands and Weir have significant experience in the hospitality sector. Sands developed the Hartlepool-based Pubmaster chain into one of the largest in the UK, selling the 3,200-strong pub estate in 2003.John Weir was retail director for Bass/Mitchells & Butlers, mainly responsible for the North-east and North of England before joining John Sands at Pubmaster.

By Neil Gerrard

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