Barracuda Group has announced it is to invest £35m in almost doubling its estate of pubs in the next five years. The company is set to operate a total of 191 pubs by the end this month, and expects to open its 200th site early next year. Mark McQuater, chief executive of Barracuda, said that he expected the company to expand by 30-35 sites a year. He said: “With a debt facility from RBS and a lively cashflow we have a war chest of £35m which we will use to fund an aggressive expansion.” The group, which operates the Smith & Jones, Varsity, and juniper inns brands, currently operates two pubs in Scotland and has signed up three further sites in Elgin, Helensburgh, and a small boutique hotel in Dumfries. McQuater expects the company’s Scottish operation to expand by four to five sites a year. The group announced at the start of this month that it planned to open 12 new sites before the end of its financial year on 30 September. The opening of the 12th site this month, which is expected on 24 September, will be the 33rd in the company’s current financial year. The new openings include eight Smith & Jones sites and one Barracuda Bar. The three additional new businesses have been converted from the company’s existing estate and re-launched under its student-focused Varsity brand. The Smith & Jones sites will open in Darwen, Ilkeston, Chaddesden, Bathgate, Barry, Ossett, Caterham and Sittingbourne, while the new Barracuda Bar, the company’s 23rd, will open in Weymouth. The three new Varsity outlets will open in Manchester, Brighton and Loughborough. It is currently carrying out a gradual refurbishment programme to convert its unbranded estate to its Juniper brand.