BRISBANE KEY TO APF GROWTH

BRISBANE KEY TO APF GROWTH

BRISBANE Hotels have formed a significant part of the Australian Pub Fund’s growing portfolio and co-owner Mark Carnegie is confident they will deliver for the business.

If the size of the crowd on hand to celebrate the redeveloped Elephant Hotel on a Wednesday night in late February is any measure, APF has made a good investment.

The beer garden expanded at the rear of the property has also been expanded with an outdoor kitchen featuring a woodfire pizza oven and charcoal rotisserie.

The former Elephant and Wheelbarrow is one of two hotels the business owns in the city, the other being The Exchange, purchased for $35 million.

APF part-owner Mark Carnegie (pictured left, with Tommy Raudonokis, Trish Raudonikis and Gorden Tallis) says the sheer size of the Brisbane hotels makes them a desirable asset and the shareholders are “very happy” with their investments in the city.

“The scale of the Brisbane pubs is so good, you can have multi venues within the single place, there are lots and lots of opportunities, Brisbane has a fantastically thriving pub culture.”

Seeing the potential in developing distressed pub assets, John Singleton, Geoff Dixon and Carnegie came on board and armed with a $65 million SunSuper investment, started buying up hotels around the country.

“The reason we bought into pubs is because a whole lot of people borrowed way too much money to pay for them and were forced to sell after the GFC and we thought there was a great opportunity to come in,” says Carnegie.

The initial plan was to list the business on the Australian Securities Exchange in an initial public offering worth about $500 million, but that has been put on the backburner in the wake of the New South Wales Government’s new lockout rules implemented to reduce alcohol-fuelled violence.

“We are waiting to see. Unfortunately the premier of New South Wales has made it rather hard to play pubs at the moment, but people still want to drink in them, so we will wait for the climate to change,” he says.

Carnegie does acknowledge pubs have a part to play in curbing alcohol abuse and associated violence.

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