Ei Group has said the sale of its commercial properties arm will allow it to focus on driving growth across its pub estate as well as reducing debt and allowing it to buy back further shares.

The group yesterday completed the sale of 348 of its 370 commercial properties to a fund managed by Davidson Kempner for £348m.

Completion of the sale of the remaining 22 commercial properties, the gross proceeds of which will amount to £11.4m, are still subject to superior landlord consent.

In an update this morning, EiG said it was launching a further £35m share buyback programme, in addition to the £20m programme completed in January.

Chief executive Simon Townsend said: “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone for the business and evidence of our ability to unlock value across our estate and realise attractive cash proceeds for shareholders. This disposal will allow us to focus on driving growth across our core Publican Partnerships, Managed Operations and Managed Investments businesses, while also reducing our debt and delivering further shareholder value. With that in mind, we are pleased to announce a further £35 million share buyback programme, in addition to the £20 million programme we completed in January.”