Brewer and pub company Marston's has announced that it has sold another 202 pubs to NewRiver Retail Limited in a deal worth around £90 million.
The move will see the real estate investment trust acquire a total of 158 community pubs from the chain's estate and 44 leased pubs.
Marston's will continue to manage the pubs for five years in exchange for a fee.
The deal is said to be in line with the company's plans to boost growth by investing in pubs with a higher turnover, while moving the focus away from smaller, drinks-only pubs.
Chief executive officer, Ralph Findlay, said: “This disposal will enable us to reduce the cost of servicing our securitised debt, is consistent with our strategy and improves the quality of our estate. It will also assist with financing the accelerating rollout of our new-build pub-restaurants which are achieving good returns.”
The cash that is generated by the sale could save the firm around £6.7 million in interest payments every year.
Marston's announced the news of the sale along with its results for the year ending October 5th. Pre-tax profits reached £69.8 million, representing a substantial turnaround from the £135.5 million loss recorded last year.
Group revenue was up by nine per cent to £782.9 million, causing the company to state that it is on course to achieve its target of disposal proceeds of between £60 million and £70 million per year in 2014 and 2015.
Marston's estate currently includes a total of 2,050 pubs nationwide, mainly comprising of managed, franchised and leased pubs.
Meanwhile, the brewery, which employs around 13,000 people, specialises in producing premium cask ale.
Its ales include Marston's Pedigree and Hobgoblin, while it also brews a number of beers like Banks's, Wychwood, Jennings, Brakspear, Ringwood and Mansfield.