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Pin­neys pay-offs

THE Greene King pub and brew­ing com­pany, which owns the Loch Fyne seafood restau­rant chain, has been sold to a Hong Kong based con­glom­er­ate in a deal worth a to­tal of £4.6 bil­lion.

CK As­set Hold­ings, founded by Hong Kong‘s richest man, Li Ka-shing, will pay £2.7 bil­lion for the 220-year-old busi­ness and take on its debt, worth an ad­di­tional £1.9 bil­lion.

Greene King, based in Bury St Ed­munds, Suf­folk, was founded in 1799 and op­er­ates nearly 3,000 pubs, restau­rants and ho­tels.

Loch Fyne, which takes its name from a sea loch on the west coast of Scot­land, was started in the 1970s by seafood en­thu­si­asts, Johnny No­ble and Andy Lane.

But it grew rapidly, with the first restau­rants open­ing in Scot­land, be­fore ex­pand­ing across the bor­der into England. Loch Fyne Oys­ters con­tin­ues to trade as a sep­a­rate high qual­ity seafood oper­a­tion.

Greene King bought the Loch Fyne restau­rants in 2006 for £68 mil­lion. The chain now has 22 out­lets.

There have been per­sis­tent re­ports that Greene King was plan­ning to sell up. It has been a tough year for the restau­rant busi­ness in the UK, with a num­ber of high pro­file clo­sures.

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