This is the modern face of the brewing industry. Laurel Pub Holdings was created out of Whitbread’s former pubs division, which Morgan Grenfell Private Equity bought in 2001 for £1.63 billion. After a streamlining exercise that disposed of more than 2,000 inns, Laurel now has 600 pubs estimated to be worth at least £800m. These include the high-street chains Hogshead and Casa inns. Laurel is reported to be considering the acquisition of a further 200 pubs in the next 18 months. The company reported an attractive annualised operating profit of £123m on sales of £576m in 2002, when it had the equivalent of 7,978 full-time staff.
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