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Downing makes £4.7 million investment into new gastro pubs

28 August 2018

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Downing LLP has provided £4.7 million of equity to Apprise Pubs Limited


Downing LLP has provided £4.7 million of equity to Apprise Pubs Limited, a pub company seeking to acquire closed freehold sites in the Home Counties and convert them into high-quality gastropubs. The pubs will be operated by the multi-award winning team at Oakman Inns.

Apprise acquired its first site, the Refectory in Hampton Hill, in April 2018. This was followed in August by the acquisition of a closed site in the centre of Wokingham, which was previously operated by Café Rouge.

Steve Kenee, Investment Director at Downing says:

“Despite the headwinds facing the high street, we continue to see opportunities to back strong operators and food & beverage concepts. We know Peter Borg-Neal and the rest of the management team behind Oakman Inns well, having partnered with them for a number of years. They know that we can act quickly as and when opportunities present themselves and have a thorough understanding of the sector.”

Peter Borg-Neal, CEO of Oakman Inns says:

"We are delighted to be working with Downing on this new venture. Oakman Inns is currently growing strongly this year. In addition to delivering 10% like-for-like sales growth, in the 19 weeks to Sunday 11 August, we have had four hugely successful openings this year - including The Royal Foresters in Ascot which is averaging net turnover of £83k per week. However, these openings use vast amounts of capital; by delivering management contracts for Downing-backed businesses, we can grow our EBITDA without increasing capital investment any further."

"Because we manage the entire process from site acquisition through the development process and then run the operation, we can ensure that the sites fit well into our operating system. This enables us to deliver great returns for investors while leveraging our powerful central resources and earning incremental profits."

This latest investment in Apprise comes from Downing-managed VCT funds and Downing EIS. Downing is an experienced investor in the pub sector with over £100 million invested in pubs across the UK.




For all press enquiries, please contact:

Pamela Morris, the lang cat

0131 202 6037

07712 515 503


Jean Birrell, Downing LLP




About Downing LLP

Downing LLP is an FCA authorised and regulated investment manager with over 30 years of experience and has raised funds from 35,000 investors. We help UK businesses grow by investing in them via our wide range of tax-efficient products. We are proud to have raised over £1.7 billion into businesses across a range of sectors, from energy, care homes, health clubs, pubs, and children's nurseries to technology and e-commerce. We currently have over £1 billion of funds under management.

About Oakman Inns

The company was founded by entrepreneur and its CEO, Peter Borg-Neal, in 2007 when he opened The Akeman in Tring which quickly won an award for outstanding design and conservation work with which the pub group has become synonymous.

The multiple award-winning company established the new concept of the ‘modern public house’ and has successfully transformed both historic and modern buildings into contemporary spaces that have a strong sense of identity and integration within the local communities they serve.  Offering a high standard of food, drink and service, the ‘Oakman Collection’ comprises 23 distinctive all-day establishments across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and the West Midlands.

In February 2018, Oakman Inns retained its top 20 position in the prestigious Sunday Times 100 to Work For.


The Oakman Portfolio

*With rooms


Royal Foresters, Ascot *


White Hart, Ampthill *


Beech House, Amersham

Beech House, Beaconsfield

Cherry Tree, Olney

The Akeman Inn, Kingswood

Betsey Wynne, Swanbourne


King’s Arms, Berkhamsted *

Banyers House, Royston *

Beech House, St Albans

The Red Lion, Water End

The Akeman, Tring


Kings Head, Chipping Ongar

The Anchor, Hullbridge


The Navigation at Thrupp Wharf, Cosgrove


The Crown & Thistle, Abingdon *

The Old Post Office, Wallingford

Blue Boar, Witney *


The Lost Boy, Farnham


Four Alls, Welford-on-Avon

The Globe, Warwick *

West Midlands

Beech House, Solihull

Oening 2018/19

Beech House, Hampton Hill

The Polecat, Prestwood

Beech House, Epsom






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