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Tue 10th Jun 2014 - Breaking News - Fuller’s buys 51% stake in cider and pizza concept
Fuller’s buys 51% stake in cider and pizza concept: Fuller, Smith & Turner, the London brewer and premium pub company, has acquired a 51% share in The Stable – a craft cider and pizza restaurant business - for £7.3m. Led by entrepreneurs, Richard and Nikki Cooper, The Stable has six sites across the south west specialising in gourmet pizzas and a range of 50 different craft ciders. As part of the partnership, Fuller’s will also acquire the freehold of The Bull Hotel in Bridport, Dorset. The business started in The Bull, which the couple purchased in 2006. The hotel – which has 19 boutique bedrooms – had a stable at the rear, which became the site of the first pizza and cider restaurant. Five further restaurants followed in Weymouth, Bristol, Bath, Poole and Fistral Bay, Newquay and the plan is to expand the business further into the south of England. Fuller’s investment in the company will allow the Coopers to realise their expansion plans and the business will still run under their leadership. Fuller’s is investing £7.3 million for the 51% share, as well as the freehold of The Bull Hotel and there is an option to increase this investment in the future. It is anticipated that the transaction will be broadly earnings neutral in the first year. Fuller’s stated: “The Stable has a clear brand proposition which is characterful and distinctive and provides a unique and complementary addition to Fuller’s growing premium food and drink portfolio. Fuller’s expertise of operating in the wider southern counties, as well as years of experience at multi-site operations, will help with the roll out of the business.”
   
Spirit like-for-likes rise by 6%: Spirit Pub Company has reported that like-for-like sales rose 6% in the 12 weeks to 24 May, up from 5.2% growth in the 40 weeks to the same end-date. Like-for-like drink sales were up 7.1% in the 12 weeks (5.2% up over 40 weeks) and like-for-like food sales rose 4.8% n the 12 weeks (compared to the same figure over the 40 weeks). The company stated: “Our managed pubs have continued to trade strongly ahead of the market1 maintaining the good momentum in both food and drink sales. During the quarter we have continued to roll out our Flaming Grill brand through acquisition and the conversion of pubs from our existing estate.” The leased estate saw a 5.3% rise in like-for-like net income. The company stated: “We are pleased to report a third consecutive quarter of net income growth in our Leased estate, illustrating the continuing benefit of our turnaround actions.” Mike Tye, chief executive, said: “We remain pleased with the strong performance over the quarter, with both divisions continuing to demonstrate the benefits of investment in our estate, infrastructure and people. In our Managed division, we have now commenced our planned expansion of the estate and we continue to see the benefits of the turnaround in the Leased division.”

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