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Tue 3rd Sep 2013 - Breaking News - Greene King and Punch Taverns trading updates
Greene King managed like-for-likes up 4.6%: Greene King has reported that managed like-for-like sales are up 4.6% in the 18 weeks to 1 September. The difficult comparatives of the Jubilee and the European football last year were offset by the better summer weather, it said. Food continues to improve its share of business, with like-for-like sales up 5.7%, while like-for-like accommodation sales are up 6.0%, helped by an increase in customers taking their holidays in the UK. Like-for-like drink sales are up 3.7%, with the strongest growth is in the south east of England. The managed estate reached 1,000 sites when the latest Hungry Horse, the Walls End in North Tyneside, opened on 28 August. In the Pub Partners tenanted division, average EBITDA per pub was up 5.8% after 16 weeks, while like-for-like EBITDA was up 2.7%. Brewing & Brands core brand volume was up 2.7% after 18 weeks, led by Old Speckled Hen, with growth of 7.9%. Total beer volume was up 1.5%. The company added: “Our balance sheet and cash generation remain strong and in line with our expectations. There appear to be cautious signs of optimism in terms of recent UK macro-economic improvements. In turn, we are seeing indications of growing consumer confidence, which is reflected in our strong start to the financial year. This performance has been helped by some one-off factors including the feel-good factor from continued British sporting success and the arrival of the Royal Baby, combined with much improved weather over the summer months. While the pace of the recovery remains uncertain, we believe that our strategy, tailored for the prevailing conditions, will continue to deliver improving returns, sustained earnings growth and attractive dividends for our shareholders. We look forward to another successful year.”

Punch Taverns reports fourth quarter income growth in core estate: Punch Taverns has reported that its core estate has seen income growth up 0.4% in its fourth quarter. Average net income per pub is +1.5% in the 52 weeks of its financial year to 17 August. 96% of the core estate is let on substantive agreements, up from 94% at August 2012. A total of 476 core investments were completed in the year at an average spend of £102,000 per pub. Some 433 pubs were sold for £149 million, ahead of book value, at a multiple of 18 times EBITDA. A further 116 pubs were transferred from the non-core division to the core division from the start of the new financial year. The company stated: “Fourth quarter trading for the 12 weeks to 17 August 2013 was strong, with like-for-like net income in the core estate up 0.4%. This is the third consecutive quarter of improving like-for-like trends and has helped return average net income per pub to growth for the full year across our entire estate. Significant improvements have been made in the areas of letting, investment, sales and marketing and partner support, and this is reflected in our recent financial performance. Having launched the Punch Buying Club just over three years ago, approximately 90% of our core pubs are now members of the club. Through the Buying Club we have been able to offer a range of industry leading exclusive offers to our partners which included completion of the roll-out of free Wi-Fi across our estate during the year. We will continue to build on the success of the Buying Club over the next year as we introduce a wider range of products and services for the benefit of our partners.” Punch has continued an ‘extensive process of engagement with a broad range of stakeholders across the capital structure to consider further amendments to the previously announced restructuring proposals’. It added: “Whilst the process of engagement has taken longer than previously anticipated, the Board considers that a consensual restructuring can be launched in the second half of 2013 and will provide an update on the implementation of the restructuring in due course.” Overall profit performance for the financial year which ended on 17 August 2013 was in line with management expectations and previous guidance and we will report underlying EBITDA of between £210 million and £220 million. Management expects the core estate to return to like-for-like net income growth of up to 1% in the new financial year and between 1% and 2% net income growth in the 2015 financial year, before returning to a long-term net income growth rate of circa 2% in the 2016 financial year. Executive chairman Stephen Billingham said: “We have made excellent progress in implementing operational changes that we expect will deliver further improvements in the underlying performance of the business. Our profit performance for the year has been in line with management expectations. We are encouraged by our first quarter of net income growth since demerger, and we reiterate our previous expectations of net income growth in the core estate for the years ahead.”

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