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Tue 10th Jun 2014 - Breaking News - Fuller’s – The Stable has southern roll-out potential
Fuller’s – The Stable has southern roll-out potential: Fuller’s has reported that it believes that The Stable cider and artisan pizza concept, led by entrepreneurs Richard and Nikki Cooper, has roll-out potential across the southern counties of England. Fuller’s has spent £7.3 million for a 51% share and the freehold 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 as The Stable is still at an early stage of roll out, with four of the six outlets having opened in the last 12 months. As part of the partnership, Fuller’s will also acquire the freehold of The Bull Hotel in Bridport, Dorset, which has 19 boutique bedrooms. The Cooper’s business started in The Bull, which the couple purchased in 2006 when they decided to move out of London to raise a family. The hotel had a stable at the rear, which became the site of the first pizza and cider restaurant. With the support of Richard’s brother, Andy Briggs, five more restaurants followed and Richard and Nikki have plans to expand 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 Richard and Nikki’s leadership. Nikki Cooper said: “We’ve spent the last four and a half years of our life building up The Stable and we wanted to ensure we had a partner with a similar culture and ethos. We like the way Fuller’s does business and we like the fact it is a family concern. The Stable is a sociable and fun operation with a focus on high quality, seasonal ingredients, craft ciders and, above all, caring and friendly service – so we wanted to work with people who are like minded and we found this in Fuller’s.” Jonathon Swaine, managing director of Fuller’s Inns, said: “We knew we wanted to work with Richard and Nikki the minute we set foot in The Stable. It’s everything we value at Fuller’s – a commitment to freshly cooked, local food, a wide range of interesting premium drinks, a genuine focus on people development and a long term vision of where the business is going. The Stable has a very clear brand proposition and appeals to a demographic that is perfectly in tune with Fuller’s existing customer base. Richard and Nikki’s entrepreneurial skills will be an asset to Fuller’s and we can add our experience of operating in the wider southern counties, as well as years of experience at multi-site operations, to their business. We believe The Stable has great potential to expand across our core southern trading area. It’s an exciting time for both of us.” House broker Douglas Jack, of Numis Securities, increased his Fuller’s Price Target to 1,100p from 1,050p. He said: “Fuller’s has acquired a hotel freehold and a 51% share in The Stable chain of six craft cider and pizza restaurants for £7.3m. As The Stable estate is relatively young, the transaction should be earnings neutral this year, but we are upgrading our forecasts for 2016E and 2017E by 2% and our target price to 1,100p from 1,050p. The acquisition is an excellent fit, with The Stable having a focus on high quality, seasonal ingredients, craft ciders and great service. Thus, it should complement Fuller’s growing premium food and drink portfolio. The estate was founded and will continue to be run by Richard and Nikki Cooper, who intend to expand the brand across the south of England. Fuller’s has all the necessary resource to help fulfil these expansion plans, assisting with finance and site finding. Fuller’s has an option to increase its investment (from 51% of the equity) in the future. The acquisition should have minimal impact on earnings this year as The Stable is at an early stage of roll out, with four of the six outlets having opened in the last 12 months. Expecting The Stable to open four leasehold restaurants pa, we are upgrading PBT by £0.6m (from £36.5m to £37.1m) for 2016E and £0.8m (from £38.0m to £38.8m) for 2017E.”
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