Belhaven Smokehouse

At Graham + Sibbald we’ve been buying and selling commercial property in Scotland for well over 50 years. We are recognised as one of the leaders in the highly competitive Hotel and Leisure sector and are retained by many of Scotland’s leading hospitality and leisure groups.


Graham + Sibbald were instructed to sell the heritable interest in Belhaven Smokehouse Limited, a family-run smokehouse with over 40 years of trading in a rural industrial unit near Dunbar.

We approached this instruction as we do all other hospitality and leisure business which we sell by providing our clients with a thorough appraisal of their business, including marketing advice over several months before the instruction. This included looking at the site through a variety of different uses resulting in providing marketing advice as to the best route for disposal.

Once instructed, a full marketing campaign was launched, including taking high-quality photographs and producing sales literature, an online marketing campaign and an email campaign to our database. Once interest was generated, a secure information data suite was provided to seriously interested parties following formal viewings. Unusually, in this case, we carried out one or two Zoom viewings and remote meetings with interested parties.

We were delighted to have a significant and consistent number of interested parties in the business throughout the entire marketing campaign, including generating around 10 viewing appointments. We negotiated to the Heads of Terms stage with multiple parties providing the Vendors with a range of offers and routes to disposal.

Once the client had selected the most appropriate deal for themselves, we proceeded to legal missives and, working with Addleshaw Goddard and Johnston Carmichael, ensured that a contract was concluded in the shortest possible time.

Key Challenges

A unique business with no proven market led us to extend our research and comparables in order to best justify value and sale price. While the business boasted high volumes of sales, it yielded low-profit margins and we found it difficult to provide current trading patterns.

Instructions were received as the Coronavirus pandemic forced lockdowns across the UK, leading us to shift our viewing process to an online platform. Communication was key during this time with so many factors changing rapidly.


Having negotiated multiple deals at the same time and providing different options for the Vendors, we also ensured missives were processed as quickly as possible and overcame all hurdles during the legal due diligence phase. This allowed for the sale to be concluded within 12 months of instruction for a price above that which we sought in the market, albeit the final deal included some additional land.

Our understanding of liquor licencing ensured that we could promptly provide the Premises Licence, which had been misplaced TUPE ensured that the staff transferred seamlessly.

Key Message

Diligent response rate and follow-up of all enquiries, in addition to timeously produced information for prospective purchasers was of vital importance in ensuring successful project delivery.

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  • 35
    prospective purchasers
  • 12
    months to complete sale
"Belhaven Smokehouse Ltd were delighted with the professionalism shown by Graham + Sibbald's man on the ground, Peter Seymour. He guided us down a path very few have the experience to follow with patience and understanding, leaving us with a deal that satisfied both buyer and seller. I am happy to recommend G+S to anyone." Ian Rennie, Graham + Sibbald Client