City Pub Group has raised £6.2m through a share placing as it seeks to capitalise on opportunities in a “softening acquisitions market”.

The Clive Watson-chaired listed group this morning completed an accelerated bookbuild of new ordinary shares of 50p in the capital of the company at a price of 220p per placing share.

Watson told MCA: “The placing is because of our accelerated acquisition strategy. We feel that the acquisition market is softening and is creating considerable opportunity for us. Goldbrick sites are still retaining their value well but for anything below the price is dropping. We wanted to make sure that whatever happens with the stock markets that we have the financial firepower to make the most of the opportunities arsing.”

He said that development sites were particularly attractive at the moment and that City Pub Group had proved adept at transforming sites that needed work into profitable venues.

The company, which currently owns 43 trading pubs, with a further three in development, is growing ahead of its original plan when it floated last year and now expects to grow to 75 pubs by mid-2021.

The group said it was currently assessing two freehold sites – one in the south Midlands and another in wales, as well as a leasehold property, with an expected price for the three of £7.1m, including development costs.

On the opportunities available, the group said: “The board believes that the market appetite for acquisitions is softening, driven by uncertainty about the outcome of Brexit and revisions to business rates. Furthermore certain larger pub companies continue to rationalise their estates to focus on their key target markets. The group is experiencing less competition for sites and intends to take advantage of this as it expands its portfolio of pubs, whilst continuing to be disciplined in its approach. The group is now targeting the acquisition of over 10 pubs per annum.”

As at 30 September 2018, the Group had borrowings of £14.6m under its £30m revolving credit facility with low long term debt to EBITDA ratio of below 3 times.