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Mon 5th Jan 2015 - Charles Wells reports ebitda of £14.7m
Charles Wells reports ebitda of £14.7m: Charles Wells, the Bedford-based family-owned brewer and retailer, has reported that sale rose by £5m to £187m in the year to 27 September 2014, with profit after tax of £7.7m, up 24% from £6.2m the previous year. Ebitda was up 6% to £14.7m. Sales of the company's own beers have been growing steadily as heightened consumer interest in craft beer stimulated the market, it said, and the introduction of several new beers to match this demand, including Charles Wells DNA and Young’s London Stout, has proved successful at home and abroad. The strategy of seeking growth in international markets continues, and at the end of the financial year, these markets represented 17% of the brewery’s output. Charles Wells' wine company subsidiary, Cockburn & Campbell, saw its third consecutive year of growth, with sales up 16%. While no new pubs were acquired in the UK during the year, more than £2.4m was spent on the leased and tenanted estate, an average of £12,000 per pub. The year also saw Charles Wells return to managed houses in the UK, with £1.5m being invested in the first Apostrophe Pub, the d’Parys in Bedford. A continued focus on improving the long-term sustainability of the pub estate saw five smaller and unviable sites being sold, generating £1.1m of sales proceeds. The John Bull managed house operation in France performed strongly despite the weakening economic conditions in Europe. The focus has been on identifying future sites for expansion within France, the company said. A tenth site opened in Bordeaux in September and an 11th site has also been identified for early 2015. Debt levels for the group are in line with expectations, with the £6m increase in borrowings reflecting the final £5m payment to the London-based pub operator Young & Co for the purchase of its 40% share in the brewery business Wells & Young’s and the return to UK managed houses. Paul Wells, Charles Wells' chairman, said: “Our performance this year has been in line with expectations and we have invested for the future through investment in the brewery as well as the pub estates in the UK and France. Our international sales and pub operations have demonstrated that growth is possible at home and overseas, despite the difficulties of the global economy, and our wine company has also delivered excellent growth. Consumer tastes continue to develop and therefore innovative new products along with quality pub sites that consumers wish to frequent are essential. Our tax obligation remains high, with 42% of turnover paid in tax in addition to VAT payments of £17.9m. However a second consecutive cut in duty of 1p per pint in the budget helped to ensure continued investment in high quality pubs.” Looking ahead to 2015, Wells said: “The board is delighted to announce that Bob Ivell will join as a non-executive director of Charles Wells in January and we are confident and optimistic about the future as we move forward with our brewing and pub businesses, which transfer back under the name of Charles Wells next month.”

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