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Inventive denies rumours of vodka-bar business sell-off

15 June 2005

Revolution owners Inventive Leisure have denied rumours that it plans to sell its vodka-bar business despite a suggestive surge in share value.

Media reports of a potential sale had pushed shares up to 98p by close of play on Monday (13 June), an increase of 16.67% on the previous week.

Sales and marketing director of Inventive, Neil Macleod, said there had been no formal approach from anyone, and suggestions of a deal were pure speculation.

He said: "Things are moving along and we remain focused on developing the business."

Speculation was originally sparked when Mark Jones and Colin Rowlinson, the chief executive and finance director of the recently sold Yates Group, took a 2.6% holding in the company between them.

Jones said: "It's a good business and my investment seems to be paying off."

He declined to comment further.

KBC Peel Hunt analyst Paul Hickman said Inventive's management team had successfully tuned the business around after a sticky patch a year ago. "They've rolled up their sleeves and renewed their offer making it work," he said.

However, Hickman said he believed the business's market capitalisation of £20m still makes it one of the most digestible operations on the market. "The question you have to ask is why private equity would want to purchase an estate of mainly leasehold units?" he said.

Inventive Leisure plans to open Leeds and Cardiff Revolutions this summer and four to six new sites in 2006. Ultimately it believes there is potential to double the number of Revolution bars to 80 in the UK.

In the six months to 25 December Inventive's turnover was up 11% to £22.7m (2003: £20.4m) and pre-tax profit grew 21% to £1.8m (2003: £1.5m).

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