Pub company Hawthorn has unveiled plans to list on the stock market as a standalone quoted business.
Parent group NewRiver REIT has announced that it will explore the potential for an IPO of the 700-strong group following a strategic review, a process that would see the pub group launched as a separately listed company.
Mark Davies, who has been chief executive of Hawthorn since 2019 and part of NewRiver's pub operations since 2013, will lead the Initial Public Offering (IPO). Davies also sits on the board of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), is a founder-director of both NewRiver and Hawthorn and has been chief financial officer at NewRiver for 12 years. In leading this new chapter for Hawthorn, he will step down from the NewRiver board in due course.
He said: "This is a tremendously exciting and important moment for Hawthorn and represents the next phase in the development of the company. NewRiver is, and has been, a strong custodian of this business, helping to build one of the UK's leading community pub companies, and enabling us in the past 12 months to provide industry-leading support to our pub partners and operators.
"This is the right time to be exploring the IPO opportunity. After building this business over the course of eight years, the NewRiver board has concluded that Hawthorn can grow faster as an independent company and continue to drive towards our shared ambition of making Hawthorn the number-one community pub company in the UK."
In addition to its majority tenanted and leased pubs, the group also has an operator-managed division accounting for around 20% of the estate. The group estimated that around 60% of its pubs reopened this week after the easing of restrictions on outside trading in England.
Davies added: "We look forward to continuing to build the Hawthorn business, to returning to growth and to exploring opportunities to support more pubs and more pub partners. In many ways nothing will change and it is business as usual, and our focus will continue to be on building the very best community pub company, with industry-leading support and a people-first approach."
Hawthorn was created through the acquisition of 202 pubs from Marston's in December 2013. It acquired 158 pubs from Punch in September 2015 before the acquisition of the eponymous Hawthorn business in May 2018, which comprised 298 pubs. It then acquired the 44-strong Bravo Inns in December 2019 and a further 28 pubs from Marston's.