Peach Pubs is changing its acquisition strategy to target successfully trading gastro pubs for the first time, MCA has learnt..

The move comes after the Midlands based pub operator signed a £9.5m refinancing deal with Natwest last month.

Co-founder Hamish Stoddart told MCA: “Historically Peach has not bought successful leases, now we are prepared to pay fat premiums to people who don’t fancy going on forever - either pubco or free of tie leases. We’ve negotiated a fairly chunky bank facility, the first time we’ve been able to do that. It’s hugely helpful in being able to grow steadily.”

The group, which reported growth in its financial year to date of 6% above the market, is seeking to grow into a £35m a year business and eventually operate 22 sites. It currently has 17.

Stoddart insisted the ‘plan of attack’ was to find three new pubs a year in the form of ‘successfully trading gastro pubs’ that require little refurbishment or change in design and functionality.

However, he added poorly trading ‘start again’ pubs and freehold options would also be considered.

“The key for us is we want to carry on growing and remaining independent. We’re looking for any gastro pub or posh boozer, in our chosen area from Bristol to Surrey to Cambridge to Birmingham.”