RBS pubs sold to Heineken for £412m

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A PORTFOLIO of 900 pubs was today sold by taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland in a £412m deal with Scottish & Newcastle owner Heineken.

Galaxy Pub Estate, which comprises 918 tenanted pubs and has been run by S&N on RBS’s behalf since 1999, will be merged with Heineken UK’s existing portfolio of 462 outlets to become one of the country’s leading pub owners.

Heineken UK managing director Stefan Orlowski said: “There continues to be an important role for the great British pub in the UK on-trade, and this acquisition is a significant vote of confidence in the channel.”

The company, which acquired Scottish & Newcastle in a joint deal with Carlsberg in 2008, said there was no impact on existing lessees within the Galaxy estate, who will continue to trade on a business as usual basis.

The deal will also secure long-term supply agreements for Heineken’s leading S&N brands, such as Foster’s, Strongbow and Bulmers.

It added that its existing Blue Star pub estate - the former Globe pub business founded by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz - was now profitable and outperforming the market following its acquisition in 2009.

For RBS, the sale is a further step in its drive to reduce its portfolio of non-core assets, which were valued at £105bn at the end of September.