Greene King to be sold to Hong Kong family

British pubs group Greene King reported a 2 percent increase in full-year profit on Thursday as a 31 percent rise in food sales offset the impact of a smoking ban

British pubs group Greene King reported a 2 percent increase in full-year profit on Thursday as a 31 percent rise in food sales offset the impact of a smoking ban

His eldest son, Victor Li Tzar Kuoi, is chairman of CKA Group and will swallow up Greene King when the cash deal goes through.

Greene King was founded in Bury St Edmonds in 1799 and now has some 2,700 pubs, hotels and restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales. In a note released on Tuesday morning, Greene King PLC (LON:GNK) shares have had their "Neutral" Rating reaffirmed by equity research analysts at JP Morgan Cazenove.

Shares in the company have jumped around 50% following the news but pub association CAMRA issued a concerned statement, with national chairman, Nik Antona, saying: "The news that Britain's largest pub and brewery company has been sold to an global asset company is very concerning for our beer scene".

More than 11,000 pubs shut in the United Kingdom in the last decade, a fall of nearly a quarter, a 2018 analysis by Office for National Statistics had revealed.

Greene King's directors will recommend the deal to shareholders.

"CKA's strategy is to look for businesses with stable and resilient characteristics and strong cash flow generating capabilities", said George Colin Magnus, non-executive chairman designate of CK Bidco, the vehicle making the takeover offer.

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"Greene King, being a leading integrated pub retailer and brewer with strong real estate backing, is well positioned to capture the opportunities that lie ahead".

The company recent revalued its property estate at £4.5bn, according to analysts that follow the company. Adjusted pre-tax profit rose by 1.6% to £246.9m.

Greene King, one of Britain's oldest brewers, will be sold for £4.6bn to one of Hong Kong's biggest conglomerates.

In their announcement yesterday, the companies said that CK Bidco "intends to keep Greene King's headquarters and headquarter functions in Bury St Edmunds and its support centre in Burton upon Trent".

Greene King has been in operation for over 200 years and it is a very sad day to see such a well-known, historic and respected name exit the brewing and pub business.

CKA was founded by Hong Kong's richest man Li Ka-shing and its global empire includes property development and investment, retail, ports, utility companies and aircraft leasing. The company, which is listed in Hong Kong, was spun off from Ka-shing's main holding company in 2015.

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