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Wed 26th Aug 2015 - Beds and Bars reports second year of strong growth, £7m investment planned
Beds and Bars reports second year of strong growth, £7m investment planned: Beds and Bars, the pan-European bars and hostel provider led by Keith Knowles, has reported turnover rose 10% to £36,870,000 in the year to 31 March 2015. On a constant foreign exchange basis, Ebitda rose 13% to £4,200,000. The accounts reflect the sale and leaseback of the Winston in Amsterdam together with a full year of trading in Paris Gare Du Nord. On a like-for-like basis, and making adjustments for the strength of the pound against the euro, revenue was 18% up on the previous year. Net debt was slashed from £25m to £13m and net tangible assets increased to £13.7m. A re-finance with HSBC has involved a 15-year term loan of £11m – interest rate expense has reduced by 30% on a year-on-year basis as a result of refinancing, down to £850,407 from £1,205,077. A valuation of the company’s estate by agent Christie + Co in November 2014 places a valuation of £19,095,000 on the freehold estate and £6.6m for the leasehold estate. The company made a profit of £6,024,265 on the sale and leaseback of its freehold property in Amsterdam on an historical cost basis. The group said it is well-placed to implement the next phase of its long term strategy, which includes a £7m development of three key UK sites to add 250 beds. The investment includes a £5m spend on its Village site in Southwark, with an aggregate Ebitda addition of the three investments expected to produce additional Ebitda in the range of £1.4m to £1.8m. In July, Knowles told the Propel Multi Club Conference that he aims to more than double company annual turnover to £100m in the wake of a remarkable performance turnaround in the past two years. The current goal comes after the company added £9m to sales in the past two years. This sales growth followed “the perfect storm” of 2012 when the company was severely hit by reduced visitor numbers to the UK during the 2012 Olympics. The company’s problems in 2012 were compounded by a lack of banking support and the challenges of turning around the fortunes of its Paris site near the iconic La Rotonde. Knowles paid tribute in July to his managing director Murray Roberts, who oversaw the operational changes that have improved the company’s performance, and his chairman Tim Sykes, who led successful negotiations to find fresh banking facilities. Knowles attributed much of the company’s success to investing in its people, adding: “Sales in the UK have been simply staggering since the Olympics. Our people and the development of people remain the key component in this success.” In July, Beds and Bars was ranked at number 178 on the sixth annual Sunday Times HSBC International Track 200, published within the Business Section. The list is made up of Britain’s private companies with the fastest growing overseas sales. Last month, Knowles organised an industry-wide Live Your Life Day in memory of the contribution his late wife Franca made to the company and the sector with training and other initiatives – a reported million people were made aware of the day via social media.


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