InnBrighton becomes Laine’s after private equity deal

belle vue clapham

Private equity firm Risk Capital Partners has invested in InnBrighton, which operates 45 bars and pubs in Brighton and London, to support further expansion.

It is renaming the business The Laine Pub Company, reflecting its broader geographic reach and the increasing importance of its range of craft beers brewed in its three Laine’s microbreweries.

The Brighton-based company has 39 bars and pubs in Brighton and Hove but has expanded into London where it has six sites and a seventh set to open in the autumn.

Risk Capital was founded by Ben Redmond and Luke Johnson who made his name building up PizzaExpress, Signature Restaurants and Belgo and is now involved in restaurant and bar groups such as Red Hot World Buffet, Rocket Restaurants, The Draft House and Grand Union.

It has invested in Laine’s alongside Graphite Enterprise, the listed private equity investment trust managed by Graphite Capital, and Laine’s existing management team.

Royal Bank of Scotland has provided senior debt and capital expenditure facilities to finance the transaction and fund the future growth of the business. Laine’s is planning to open about five new pubs and bars a year over the next four years.

InnBrighton was formed in 2007 when Graphite Capital backed the merger of two of Brighton’s leading bar and pub operators C-Side and Zelgrain.

Its management team, under chairman Gary Pettet and chief executive Gavin George, has diversified away from Brighton seafront clubs towards city-based pubs and acquired sites such as the Belle-Vue in Clapham, south London (pictured).

It has acquired a number of underperforming sites, both in Brighton and in London, and successfully turned them around, achieving high returns on capital. The company recorded a turnover of about £25million in its last financial year.

Ben at Risk Capital said: “Over the past seven years, Gary and Gavin have refocused the business successfully and developed a profitable estate of highly distinctive city pubs.

“The company has a strong pipeline of new opportunities in London and is well positioned to continue to grow the business in the future.”

Gary and Gavin remain as chairman and chief executive of Laine’s. Gary said: “We are very pleased to have Risk Capital on board for the next chapter in this group’s exciting story.

“Their experience in our sector will be invaluable and we are very much looking forward to working with them to grow the business and to maximise the value to our customers in an ever-changing market.

“The name change reflects both our pride in our Brighton heritage and the growing importance and popularity of the beer we produce under the Laine’s badge.

“The skilled brewers in our three microbreweries have created some highly individual beers of excellent taste and quality, which have provided both a significant point of difference with our competitors and an engaging offering for our customers.

“Since we opened our first Brighton pub in the mid-90s, our success has been predicated upon the creation of inspiring ‘third places’ that positively impact the culture, community and climate of the localities in which we operate.

“We think the same is being achieved in the estate of six pubs we have built in London over the last two years and, with the backing of Risk Capital and Graphite Enterprise, we believe the prospects for Laine’s to achieve greater success are tremendous.”

Graphite partner Omar Kayat added: “The management team has a proven track record in acquiring underperforming pubs and improving them. We look forward to continuing to work with them under the Laine’s banner as they further develop their London estate of unique pubs and their exciting range of beers.”

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