M&G backs brewer

The UK-headquartered manager has followed its loan to coffee chain Caffé Nero earlier this month with a £20m financing package for UK brewer Hall & Woodhouse.

M&G Investments has agreed a second deal this month, providing a £20 million (€24 million; $33 million) loan to Hall & Woodhouse, an independent brewery company in the UK which owns more than 200 pubs.

M&G financed the loan using its UK Companies Financing Fund 2, a £500 million vehicle used to back mid-sized UK corprorates with turnover typically in the range of £25 million to £500 million. The fund was a recipient of commitments from the state-backed Business Finance Partnership, Prudential and a number of UK pension funds.

Hall & Woodhouse is a family-owned business founded in 1777, which employs more than 1,400 people and brews ales including Poacher’s Choice, Fursty Ferret and Tangle Foot.

The financing provided by M&G “helps them to align their debt to the long term nature of their business”, M&G said in a statement, and will “help support their plans to acquire and develop new public houses”.

James Pearce, head of direct lending at M&G Investments, said: “Mid-sized UK companies have been increasingly looking to diversify their financing and borrow over longer time periods. Funds such as UK Companies Financing 2, open up substantial opportunities for established companies looking at expansive long-term plans, due to the financial foresight and planning benefits long term finance provides them with.”

M&G’s first UK Companies Financing Fund has deployed £930 million in loans. 

Deloitte’s debt advisory team advised Hall & Woodhouse on the deal. Fenton Burgin, a partner in the practice, commented: “This innovative and market-leading transaction is one of the first non-bank, long-term financings in the regional brewing sector since the global financial crisis and reflects the strength of Hall & Woodhouse’s business. Securing long-term, committed capital from one of the UK’s leading and longest established asset managers provides the company with considerable financial flexibility underpinning its continued success and the delivery of its long term objectives.”