Royal Bank of Scotland is understood to be sounding out potential purchasers for its estate of about 1,000 pubs.

The leased and tenanted outlets, estimated to be worth more than £600 million, were acquired from Scottish & Newcastle, the brewer now controlled by Heineken, between 2000 and 2001, for about £450 million.

The brewer continues to manage the estate through its S&N Pub Enterprises (S&NPE) unit, which - as part of the sale to RBS - retained a long-term management services contract in addition to a contract to supply beer to the pubs.

The Times (Saturday)