ECI exits Devonshire

Private equity group, ECI Ventures has sold its shareholding in the Devonshire Pub Company to publicly quoted Honeycombe Leisure in a deal valuing Devonshire at GBP32 million. The consideration consisted of GBP10 million in cash and loan notes plus the assumption of GBP22 million in liabilities. Devonshire’s management team, led by Andrew McLean, has also sold its shareholdings to Honeycombe. Following the sale Andrew McLean and Simon Padgett, development director, left the company. The deal increases Honeycombe’s venue bar division to 46 outlets and its inns and taverns division to 43 outlets.

Devonshire was founded in the early 1990s and developed both a tenanted and managed estate. In 1998 it disposed of its tenanted estate to Pubmaster to concentrate on growing its managed estate. Pubmaster agreed to acquire 54 pubs from the company in a deal worth over GBP15 million. By March 2001 Devonshire had a turnover of GBP12 million and an EBITDA of GBP3.6 million.

ECI director, Tim Raffle, said of the acquisition: “Andrew McLean and his management team have created one of the UK’s leading quality pub companies. Their strategy of focusing on traditional, unbranded pubs in a closely defined geographical area has proved extremely successful, both for the company and for ECI as its financial backers.”