Downing completes £19 million exit from seven Oakman-managed pubs

Investment manager Downing LLP today announces the successful exit from a series of freehold pub investments managed by award-winning Oakman Inns and Restaurants Limited. All seven pubs have been acquired by Oakman Inns.

Downing first partnered with Oakman Inns in 2014, having been impressed by their operational expertise, staff development programmes and consistent quality of customer service. Since then, Downing has provided £26.7 million of funding to pub companies managed by Oakman through its EIS, VCT and DEPS vehicles as well as a number of unlisted asset-backed bonds. 

Downing was able to secure the services of such a high-quality partner by leveraging its extensive experience, and deep understanding of, the licensed sector.

Oakman currently has 23 pubs in key locations across South and Central England and has featured in the top 50 of the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for in the UK for the past 5 years. It has also won eight The Publican Awards, including ‘Best Community Operator’. 

The exits delivered a great outcome for Downing investors and it continues to support Oakman Inn’s growth via a number of remaining investments, while also exploring new opportunities with the business.

Steven Kenee, Investment Director at Downing, commented: “I am immensely proud to have been able to help support the impressive growth of Oakman over the past four and a half years. The Oakman team have always demonstrated a principled approach to their business combined with award-winning staff development programmes, a concern for the environment and a commitment for socially responsible work with the communities they serve. 

“This admirable ethos, coupled with a focus on ensuring the highest quality customer experience, has generated industry-leading sales and profitability growth as well as delivering great returns for our investors. We have had a great relationship with Oakman which is based on the fundamental principles of trust and a desire to find win-win solutions to any problem and it will remain a genuine pleasure to continue to work with them.”

Peter Borg-Neal, CEO of Oakman Inns, added: “From the moment we began working with Downing, they used their sector expertise to understand our business and overcome our funding challenges, finding innovative ways of meeting our needs and creating solutions that work for both parties – the acid test of any successful business partnership.

“This relationship has been instrumental in our success, and while our acquisition of these seven freehold public houses is a high point, it by no means marks the end of our relationship with Downing and we look forward to continuing our work with them in the future.”

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Jean Birrell, Downing LLP