An experienced pub and club operator is looking for couples to enter a joint-ownership venture to run sites in the Bristol, Cardiff and South Wales valleys area. Ian Cochrane, who currently owns six pubs and clubs in the north-west and Wales, is asking for couples to invest between 20% and 50% of the purchase price for pub freeholds under the venture through his company Cochrane Opportunity Enterprises (COE). COE would put up the rest of the money. Under the deal, which is believed to be unique in the pub trade, the couple would be tied on beer and cider from his own drinks wholesale business. They would receive a percentage discount relative to the proportion of their investment, the company said, with extra discounts, and an annual bonus, for exceeding their target. All takings are kept by the licensee couple, who would be responsible for running costs such as utilities, staff wages and business rates. However, COE claims that the licensees could get discounts on utilities because the company would buy them in bulk. The licensees would keep a percentage of gaming machine takings, typically 50% depending on their investment, after the rent is deducted. Cochrane said: “I’m not aware of any other operator who has ever attempted this. I’m trying to do something different.” On his expansion plans, he added: “I am looking for units that are beer-led. If I get the right people I would expand the company quite quickly. “The ideal scenario would be to double in size in a year to two years.” COE said would-be licensee partners may be asked to work a paid stint at one of his pubs to find out if they are suitable.

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