Northern Ireland

Carmichael Groups buys back pubs to make £9.5m profit

The Carmichael Group has made a profit of £9.5m by selling and then rebuying some of their old pubs.

They have just bought three pubs in north Down for £3m.

The Esplanade in Ballyholme is new to them, but the Stables in Groomsport and the Bryansburn in Bangor used to be in their pub group before they were sold at the height of the economic boom.

Since then the pubs have been owned by Wen Inns, who went bust in 2011.

They were then bought out of administration by the Merchant Hotel owner Bill Wolsey, with a whole group of others, and now he has sold off some of that collection to the Carmichaels.

Keith Carmichael said that the company executives have kept their toes in the market with their Belfast pub Morrisons, and the Rosspark Hotel in Ballymena.

He convinced the Ulster Bank to back the purchases, as they provided almost £2m of the £3m deal.

Mr Carmichael said: "There is always a niche in every market, and hopefully the Carmichael name will bring something to that."

It's a difficult time for the pub trade at the moment, but Keith Carmichael said it has never been an easy industry.

"The customer needs to feel welcome and that has always been our game, over the years business doesn't change," he said.

Hear the full interview with Keith Carmichael on the NI Business News Podcast.