Australian Venue Co “will be significantly bigger in five years”

13 May, 2019 by Andy Young

Bob East, the new Chairman of Australian Venue Company (AVC), Australia’s second-largest pub and bar operator, has said the company will continue to eye growth, but not just for the sake of growing.

Earlier this year AVC secured a deal with Coles to manage its hotels in Queensland and East told The Australian that the business, which is backed by private equity firm KKR, will continue to look at new pub acquisitions.

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“It’s natural [AVC] will be an acquisitive business,” East told The Australian. “We shouldn’t shy away from that fact. But we can’t just grow, we have to improve and grow.”

He added: “It will be significantly bigger in five years’ time. I can assure you the board will have a very disciplined approach to acquisitions. We won’t be acquiring to make more money, only if it will add value to the overall package.”

The Australian also reported that East said AVC will work on helping existing venue managers in Queensland develop their planning, marketing and business management skills and also further leverage their knowledge and skills in the local market. A policy the company carries throughout all its venues.

Paul Waterson, CEO of AVC, told TheShout that it was important for the business to make the most of the knowledge of its local operators.

“I would like to reinforce Bob’s comments that we have been overwhelmed with the quality and passion of the managers in the Coles pubs,” Waterson said.

“Our main focus is on giving them the tools and support that enables them to serve their local patrons in a way that best suits their individual venues.”

East also told The Australian that AVC “can absolutely go offshore” in terms of its acquisitions. “But,” he added, “you would need to be very sure as to how you are adding value. What benefit would we provide customers and venues? If you can’t create a competitive advantage, don’t do it.”

Australian Venue Co CEO Paul Waterson will be speaking at Australian Hotelier’s Pub Leaders Summit in Melbourne in May. To find out more, visit: www.publeaders.com.au.