By Annette Shailer

Trading in National Leisure and Gaming (NLG) shares resumed yesterday (Feb 10) after trading was suspended on Wednesday pending an ASX query, as speculation mounted on the pub group’s involvement in a major sell-off.

The trading halt came on the back of a significant jump in the NLG share price, which almost quadrupled with a change of 214 percent over the course of Wednesday’s trading attracting the regulators attention.

The spike came a day after a statement from NLG’s landlord on a number of properties, the Redcape Property Fund, which hinted that a deal was in the air.

“Having regard to current activity, the Redcape Board has decided to advise the market that Redcape has been approached by a number of parties interested in acquiring a number of pubs (hotels) in one line,” said the company in a statement to the ASX.

Redcape shares also rose on the back of the news although NLG shares fell from 2.2c to 1.8c yesterday once trading resumed after NLG had replied to the ASX query.

In its response NLG said that the company had been, “approached by various external parties who have expressed an interest in taking an ownership position in the company.”

However the response went on to clarify that, “neither the company’s activities, nor the external approaches, have been sufficiently developed to warrant disclosure to the market to date…”.

One such ‘external approach’ being widely-speculated amongst industry insiders is well-known family pub group the Laundy Hotels Group, which is rumoured to be looking to buy the Redcape and NLG pubs assets.

There are 20 NLG freeholds to be sold by Redcape, with analysts estimating a combined sale of around $300m.

If the Laundys were to buy all 20 freeholds, this would bring the group’s portfolio to more than 50 venues across New South Wales and Queensland.

NLG declined to comment on the speculation.



The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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