Solid trading performance:
- Underlying Group revenue up 1% to £787.6 million and underlying PBT down 3.6% to £83.0 million, reflecting disposals and shorter trading period.
- Like-for-like profit growth in retained pub estate.
- Brewing business continued to grow revenue and operating profits.
- Return on capital remains strong at 10.5%.
Two year transformation of pub estate on track, average profit per pub up 10%:
- Strong underlying revenue and profit growth in Destination and Premium driven by new-build investment, with 27 openings this year.
- Our 100th new-build pub opened in Dumfries in September.
- Continued conversion of Taverns to franchise - 535 now converted.
- High quality Leased business delivered like-for-like profit and rental growth.
- Average profit per pub up 10% in our retained pub estate.
Final dividend up 4.9% to 4.3p per share reflecting progress and confidence in strategy
Encouraging start to new financial year:
- Destination and Premium like-for-like sales up 2.1%. Margins ahead of last year.
- Taverns like-for-like sales up 2.0%.
- Core Leased like-for-like profits up on last year.
- Brewing ahead of last year, particularly strong performance from Hobgoblin over Halloween.
Commenting, Ralph Findlay, Chief Executive, said:
"This year we have made good progress in transforming the quality of our pub estate through the continuation of our new-build development plans and the disposal of weaker pubs. Our Brewing business is benefiting from our category leadership in premium ale and new product development.
There are some signs of modest economic improvement, with the emergence of real wage growth and resilience within the economic regions outside London.
Looking forward, we will continue with our expansion strategy to invest in at least 25 new-build pubs each year. We also remain on track to dispose of the residual 200 pubs targeted for sale from our Taverns estate over the next 12 months to create the desired structure for our business for the future."