Oakman Inns today launched a share offer in a move that could net it £4.5m.
The group has traditionally funded its expansion by raising capital from an extended network of individual investors and word-of-mouth recommendations.
But it has now opened this up to the public for the first time in 13 years and hopes it will give customers, regulars and communities a chance to own part of the business.
Oakman, which operates 27 pubs in and around market towns in southern England and the West Midlands, is looking beyond the current restrictions on trading to capitalise on the post-pandemic market conditions to grow the size of its business.
It intends to raise £4.5m from the sale of shares at £2.75 each. There will be a minimum investment of 350 shares – or £962.50 per person.
As well buying shares, new shareholders will also receive access to exclusive events, new menu tastings, ‘meet the supplier’ events and an Investors’ Card, which will give them a range of all year discounts based on the amount invested.
To support this, the company, which generated sales of £44m last year, has created the Oakman Investor Platform to manage the process itself, rather using a third party.
Founder and executive chairman, Peter Borg-Neal, believes that the time is right to strengthen the company’s presence by raising capital to fund a trail of acquisitions in 2021.
He said: “We enjoyed a stellar performance following LD1 and by the time we had to go back into LD2, sales were trading £2.5m ahead of budget.
“To help cope with the impact of this wave of restrictions, we have successfully developed our outdoor areas and created over 1,000 heated and covered outside spaces – an investment that we expect to benefit the business long after the restrictions on meeting indoors have been removed.
“We’ve tried to create an offer that allows everyone to be able to take a small stake in their local for less than the cost of a weekly Sunday brunch for two.”
Oakman’s CEO Dermot King believes the long-term changes in consumer behaviour, such as the move to working from home, coupled with the tragic and unnecessary failure of many smaller pubs and restaurants, makes it well-placed to gain further market share.
“Our company is financially stable, and once the fund-raising is completed, we will proceed with our development plans. We have over a dozen new sites in our pipeline, most of which we will develop and open next year.
“We expect many more opportunities to present themselves over the next 12 months and aim to double the size of our existing estate by 2026.”