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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 31st Mar 2014 - Breaking News - Wildwood owner to speed-up expansion after sales up 20%
Wildwood owner to speed-up expansion after sales up 20%: Wildwood operator Tasty has reported turnover up 20% to £23,192,000 and pre-tax profit of £1,742,000 (2012: £1,552,000) in the 52 weeks to 29 December 2013. Five new Wildwood and Wildwood Kitchen restaurants were opened during the year: Didcot opened in March, South Woodford and Newmarket in April followed by Barnes and Peterborough, which opened in July and October respectively. Since the year-end a further Wildwood Kitchen has opened in Oakham. Wildwood Salisbury opened in March 2014 and a number of other sites are already in the pipeline, at various stages of completion and negotiation. During the period the Group’s bank facility was increased to £4,000,000 (£1,000,000 term loan and £3,000,000 revolving facility), from £2,500,000. As at 29 December the £1,000,000 term loan (2012 – £1,000,000) was fully drawn down. The company raised £3,461,000 from the issue of new shares in October through a share placing and the exercise of Directors’ options. The company stated: “The Group delivered a strong performance in 2013, with an improvement in gross margin and a 20% and 12% increase respectively in revenues and profit. The Group continued its expansion during the year, adding five new sites to the estate. The rate of development will accelerate in the medium term, with the Group securing funding through the share placing and increased banking facilities during the period. Openings in the coming 12 months will expand the UK geographical footprint of the estate.” At the end of the period the Group operated 28 restaurants. Currently, the Group has 31 restaurants in operation – six DimTs, 24 Wildwoods and Wildwood Kitchens and one other.
Agent Christie + Co reports strong second half: Property agent and professional services company Christie Group has reported revenue for the year to 31 December 2013 of £54.2m (2012: £56.1m). Revenue in the second half was £28.5m, an 11% increase on first half revenue (£25.7m). Second half operating profit before exceptional items was £1.8m (2012: £0.2m). The company reported 2014 has begun with strong pipeline of future projects. David Rugg, chief executive of Christie Group said: “After a challenging first half the Group performed well in the second half of the year. The recently announced availability of funds from defined contribution pension schemes will stimulate the business sales market. We have increased operating margins and profitability and enhanced the flexibility of our business.”
Vianet – pub sector trading is challenging: Vianet Group, the provider of real time monitoring systems and data management services for the leisure, vending, and forecourt services sectors, has reported trading for the second half of the year is expected to be broadly in line with the board’s expectations. The company stated this morning: “As a result, the Group’s full year pre-exceptional operating profits will be in the region of £3.0 million, as indicated in the trading update of 9 October 2013 and the strength of the Group’s recurring income and prospects for 2014/5 give the Board confidence in maintaining the proposed final dividend at 4p, which would give a total dividend for the year of 5.7p. Against a background of ongoing uncertainty around the government’s proposed Statutory Code for pub companies and ongoing pub closures, trading remains challenging for the Group’s core beer flow monitoring operations. However, the Board remains hopeful of a satisfactory outcome from the Statutory Code consultation process although it continues to exercise caution as the timing and content of such an announcement remain unclear.” Chairman James Dickson said: “Whilst trading in the pub sector has been challenging, the business has made good progress and prospects, particularly for telemetry solutions for the coffee vending market, are encouraging. The benefits of the actions taken to reduce costs are being realised and further cost reduction initiatives are being implemented. Given the Group’s prospects and strength of recurring income, the Board is pleased to maintain the final dividend.”

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