JW Lees, the Manchester-based brewer and pub operator, is looking to grow to 200 pubs and is able to secure a further £10m in growth funding from the bank, managing director William Lees-Jones has told M&C Report.

He said: “Because we’re making good profits it means the bank is willing to lend us more money, so we’re looking to accelerate growth.

“We’re sitting on £20m and can get another £10m from the bank. And to me that money means pubs - new-builds, conversions and, especially, buying pubs in places where we’re not well known.”

Lees-Jones added: “We have 164 pubs now and we want to get to 200. Twenty years ago we had 172. But this time they’ll be very high quality pubs. There are opportunities to buy off the larger pubcos pubs that we’ll spend £400,000 to £500,000 doing up.

“How many pubs you have is an irrelevant question really, though. We have a new rule that says a managed house has to take at least £1m a year. We’ve got a bar for tenancies, too, but as we’re still in transition I’d rather not say what it is.”

Recent acquisitions by the JW Lees include the Old Station Hotel in Llandudno Junction, North Wales, from Spirit Pub Company and the Ship Inn at Haskayne, Lancashire, a privately-owned freehold.