Jim Knox has expanded his pub footprint in the New England region of NSW with the purchase of three pub freeholds in one town.
Knox – whose recent purchases in the New England area include the Whitebull Hotel in Armidale, the Grafton Hotel in Grafton, and the Royal Hotel in Moree – has now acquired three more Moree pubs.
The portfolio includes the Post Office Hotel, the Victoria Hotel, and the Moree Hotel, and was divested by private hoteliers Sally Mishell and Gina Benson who plan to retire. The pair had owned the Victorial Hotel for over 10 years, but only recently acquired the Post Office hotel late last year.
“From a yield perspective, Moree is very attractive to us,” Knox said. “There are no doubt geographical challenges with Moree, and that perhaps makes it a little less competitive with the larger hotel groups on the buy-side.
“However, we are confident with our strategy, and have now acquired the suite of Moree assets on a yield acceptable to us for the locality.”
The multimillion-dollar deal is the first significant regional pub portfolio sale in the current financial year, according to HTL Property, which managed the sale.
HTL’s Xavier Plunkett, who brokered the deal said operational and geographical synergies for Knox – who owns agricultural interests in the area – was the main motivation for the acquisition.
“Economically, Moree has benefited from the breaking of an historically long drought, the trickle-down effect of a 10-year high cotton price, and the enormous infrastructure spend and blue-collar employment opportunities resulting from the Federal Governments $15bn Inland Rail Project,” Plunkett said.