McManus, the 18-strong Northamptonshire-based group, is looking to add accommodation to its estate as well as will as some major refurbishments of it free houses totalling over £1m, MCA has learnt.

The group is currently working a £550,000 development of historic listed pub Shipmans in Northampton, which it bought from Brakspear, as well as a £600,000 refurbishment of Bellini’s bar and brassiere in Leigh-on-sea, which is part of its existing estate.

The group is looking at underused space it owns around its freehold estate for potential rooms in order to boost income streams.

Financial director Chris Wright said having sold two sites in the last financial year, the group would concentrate on maximising returns from its existing estate.

He said: “We have a nice portfolio of pubs, we’re always buying and selling, topping and tailing, and our strategy going forward is we want to focus our investment on our own estate rather than buying pubs left right and centre.

“There’s a good return on investment to be had investing on our estate rather than going out and buying someone else with goodwill. That will be the focus over the next few years.

“We have a strong core of pubs, and a lean business, from a debt and balance sheet point of view, and we’ll be using cash flow and funding from NatWest to invest in our estate.”

The refurbished Shipmans pub will have a focus on mainstream craft beer from Heineken.

Wright said: “It’s out first venture into craft beer friendly pub. Northampton is a bit behind on craft, but it’s a growing area.”

Wright said the group was also looking to simplify its food offer across the estate.

He added: “Each pub has a different menu, and though we don’t really have a brand, behind the scenes we’re trying to adopt three or four menus across our 18 pubs, and slim down the range to make it easier to manage.”