South-west pub operator runs out of cash

A company operating six pubs in Devon and Somerset has gone into administration following “unsustainable pressure” upon its cash flow.

Singer Inns and Taverns Limited, a south-west pub operator, is now under the control of restructuring firm FRP Advisory, which has been appointed as the administrator.

Andrew Sheridan, joint administrator at FRP Advisory, said: “Sadly, despite the strong underlying operational performance of the pubs the company had too much debt to service having paid significant premiums for some of their leases and for the freehold at the top of the market and ultimately they simply ran out of cash.”

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However, FRP Advisory yesterday confirmed that it has already secured new tenants for three of the Devon pubs, saving 46 jobs in the process. The pubs continuing trading are the Inn on the Shore in Torpoint owned by Punch Taverns, the Cherub in Dartmouth and the Kings Arms in Tedburn St Mary.

The Orchard Inn, formerly trading as the Royal Oak and located at Hill Common, Taunton in Somerset continues to trade as normal while the joint administrators have instructed Jones Lang LaSalle in Exeter to market the pub for sale as a freehold gastro pub.

The Orchard Inn currently employs 14 staff and is being managed by Licensed Solutions Limited, a hospitality management firm brought in by the joint administrators to ensure a continuous high quality service to the pub’s customer base.

Two pubs —the Globe Inn in Tiverton, which had 18 staff, and the Dartmoor Halfway Inn in Newton Abbott, which had 13 staff, have ceased trading with the leases for each premises reverting back to their landlord brewer owner.

The move has resulted in the loss of all staff jobs while the landlords find suitable tenants to become the new leaseholders and take over the daily running and operations of those pubs.

Sheridan added: “We are pleased that already 46 jobs have been saved and we are confident that The Orchard Inn will be sold to new owners saving another 14 jobs. Trading continues as normal through the administration process and over the past two Sunday lunchtimes all the covers were sold which is a reflection on the appeal of the pub, the quality of its food and testimony to the friendly and able staff front of house.”

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