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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 4th Jun 2015 - Vianet reports rise in turnover and profit
Vianet reports rise in turnover and profit: Vianet Group, the provider of real time monitoring systems and data management services for the leisure, vending and forecourt services sectors, has reported profit before tax up 9.6% at £1.71m (2014: £1.56m) for the year ended 31 March 2015. Revenue for the year was £18.53m (2014: £18.34m). Operational highlights included 5,702 new vending units (2014: 2,067). There were 555 new beer monitoring installations of which 526 were higher value iDraught (2014: 416 and 296 units respectively). James Dickson, chairman of Vianet Group, said: “Against a background of uncertainty related to the introduction of the Statutory Code for Pub Companies, Vianet’s results for the full year show that encouraging progress has been made. Our focused approach to exploiting growth opportunities such as in vending telemetry has returned the Group to modest growth. Vianet’s growth and profitability remains strongly influenced by external factors be they legislative, socio-economic, or corporate activities affecting the UK pub sector. We continue to make good progress in offsetting the impact of this through successful diversification, continued investment and innovation in products and services to deliver highly relevant customer solutions, and actions taken to reduce costs and improve efficiency. The Board remains confident that Vianet’s long term strategy is appropriate, that the Group is well positioned, within the parameters of its influence, to deliver sustained earnings growth, which in doing so should also expand the future strategic options for Vianet. In June 2014, the government lifted some of the uncertainty by publishing its proposed Statutory Code for Pub Companies which the Board regarded as a fair outcome, greeting it with cautious optimism. Subsequently traction in iDraught sales started to develop until further uncertainty was introduced in December 2014 with the House of Commons’ narrow vote in favour of a Bill to introduce a market rent only (“MRO”) option to the Statutory Code. The Bill has now progressed through the parliamentary process, with likely implementation by Summer 2016. Whilst there may be limited long term impact, the current uncertainty for pub companies has held back further investment in this area, leading to an increase in pub disposals and closures. Although there have been no lost contracts, this has resulted in a net loss of almost 900 beer monitoring installations at a time when the Group was starting to witness a pickup in trading. The board is pleased to announce the appointment of Matt Lane to the new role of managing director for the Vending Solutions division, reporting directly to Stewart Darling, Group CEO. Matt is a high calibre individual with extensive experience in the vending sector having recently held the roles of head of beverage solutions and head of vending at Nestle Professional UK.”

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