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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 13th Nov 2013 - Breaking News - Gourmet Burger Kitchen reports profit boost
Gourmet Burger Kitchen reports profit increase: Gourmet Burger Kitchen, the better burger offer owned by Nando’s, has reported a 4.1% rise in turnover to £40,653,00 in the year to 24 February. The company achieved a 57.5% increase in profit before restaurant opening costs, cost of fundamental reorganisation and interest of £1,624,000. The company reported a profit on ordinary activities of £160,000 compared to a loss of £685,000 the year before. The company opened two new restaurants taking the total to 57. The company booked an impairment charge of £468,000. Net debt stands at £18m.

Downing looks to invest up to £30m in the pub sector: Downing, the investment trust that has built a 29-strong freehold London pub portfolio with Antic London and has a number of other pub investments, is looking to invest up to £30m in the pub sector in the next 12 to 24 months. Steve Kenee, of Downing, said: “Downing is looking to build long term partnerships with high quality operators with whom we can make serial investments.” In a recent Propel Friday opinion article, he stated: “Entry prices prior to the start of the credit crunch only made financial sense if they were funded by an unsustainable combination of rising markets and cheap bank debt. Without significant underlying capital appreciation, if you’re paying 12-14x EBITDA for a business you’re simply not making a good return. However, once the banks retrenched, prices started to fall and they are now at much more sensible and attractive levels. Stockbrokers will be the first to tell you that no one gets rich by investing at the top of the market, the same is true of our industry.”

Hotel survey reports strong Third Quarter: HVS London’s quarterly Hotel Bulletin has found that regional performance in Q3 has been particularly strong, with all but two cities reviewed showing RevPAR (rooms revenue per available room) gains, with an average of 8% increases. This converts to a profit rise of 3% year-on-year. “We are now confident enough to say that the recession in the UK’s hotel sector is effectively now over based on year-on-year growth to both revenue and profitability. Performance has been strong in the regions, with hotels in Aberdeen, Bath, Belfast and Edinburgh recording double digit RevPAR increases in Q3,” said HVS London director Tim Smith. “The most encouraging fact about regional performance is that improvements have been quite broad based, in contrast with pockets of good performance recorded in recent years. Performance in London is also positive, as while hotels have recorded a 3% decline in RevPAR, demand has grown at a greater rate than supply and it is only average rates that have failed to match the one-off levels seen during the Olympics. The key issue is that confidence has returned to the market, because trading and profits have risen. That confidence is shown by more bank debt available, more transactions and an improved trading situation at the hotels. Therefore, we are definitely out of the worst and in a period of recovery,” added Smith. Rather than seeing tourist volume slump post Olympics, as other host cities have done, early signs are that the UK has benefitted from the worldwide exposure created by the Games with the number of overseas visitors stabilising, and then accelerating this summer. In terms of new hotel openings in the UK, it is still budget hotels and limited service operations that are being favoured by developers, accounting for 67% of total new openings in Q3.

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