A strong management and quality of outlets based in attractive economic areas are the two main attributes a pub company needs to attract the interest of investors, according to a survey of bankers and lawyers by Ernst & Young. The survey of 200 bankers (80%) and lawyers (20%) found that whether a company was food led or wet led had no bearing on whether investors were attracted to a pub company, against a strong management team (35.7%), quality outlets in attractive economic areas (22.9%), opportunities to be a consolidator (2.9%), all of the these (38.6%). The majority also believed that the number of pub closures would remain flat equivalent to 2011 levels (40.9%), compared with 39.4% who felt the average number of around 25 per year would fall, against 19.7%, who said it would accelerate again as economic uncertainty, cost inflation and competition bites. Value for money offering was the main reason put forward that pubs and bars needed to attract consumers in the current climate (67.5%), followed by high quality surroundings and offer (20.8%), emotional ties, such as locally sourced food and drink (7.8%), and low cost/discounted food and drink (3.9%). Angela Swarbrick, restructuring partner at Ernst & Young, said: “Pub operators are responding to the challenges that the sector has faced in recent years, and there is reason to be cautiously optimistic for the sector in 2012 and beyond.”