Community pub company Hawthorn has announced plans to list on the stock market and will explore the potential for an IPO following a strategic review.

The move would see the pub group break out as standalone quoted business from its parent company NewRiver REIT.

Hawthorn chief executive Mark Davies, who also serves as chief financial officer at NewRiver, will lead the process of exploring an IPO, and will step down from the NewRiver board in due course.

Subject to the transaction completing the board intends that Will Hobman, who was appointed NewRiver’s finance director 18 months ago, and with the company for five years, will be appointed as the new CFO for NewRiver.

“This is a tremendously exciting and important moment for Hawthorn and represents the next phase in the development of the company,” said Davies.

“This is the right time to be exploring the IPO opportunity. After building this business over the course of eight years, the NewRiver board has concluded that Hawthorn can grow faster as an independent company and continue to drive towards our shared ambition of making Hawthorn the number-one community pub company in the UK.”

The group, which operates more than 700 leased, tenanted and operator-managed community pubs, has reopened around 60% of its estate this week and expects the balance to reopen when indoor trading is permitted.

In a separate trading update today, NewRiver said that it had significantly improved its cash and liquidity position during the pandemic, which it has achieved through it successful retail disposal programme, tightly controlling capital expenditure and making good progress on rent collection.

As a result the group ended the financial year with £198m of cash and undrawn revolving credit facilities