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Tue 21st Jun 2016 - Update: Comptoir floats, Whitbread trading update, Just Eat
Comptoir Group admitted to AIM today: Restaurant company Comptoir Group will begin trading on AIM today (Tuesday, 21 June). Comptoir owns and/or operates Lebanese and eastern Mediterranean restaurants. The core restaurant brand of the company is Comptoir Libanais. The company operates 11 Comptoir Libanais restaurants and also generates franchise revenue by franchising the Comptoir Libanais brand to other restaurant operators. The company also operates two smaller Lebanese and eastern Mediterranean outlets under the Shawa brand and a further two standalone high end restaurants, called Levant and Kenza. The placing raised £16.0m (gross), of which £8.0m was raised by the company to expand the number of restaurants operated by the company and £8.0m was raised for selling shareholders. The number of ordinary shares in issue immediately after admission will be 96,000,000, giving the company a market capitalisation of £48.0m at the placing price of 50 pence per ordinary share. Cenkos Securities is acting as nominated adviser and broker to the company. Chaker Hanna, chief executive of Comptoir, said: “Today marks an important milestone in the development of Comptoir. Our listing provides us with the platform to accelerate the growth of the business, allowing us to bring our fresh, healthy, Lebanese dining experience to many more people across the UK.”

Whitbread reports like-for-likes up 1.8%: Whitbread has reported like-for-likes up 1.8% in the 13 weeks to 2 June. Premier Inn like-for-likes rose 2.1% (total sales up 8%), restaurant like-for-likes climbed 0.2% (total sales up 1.4%) and Costa like-for-likes grew by 2.6% (total sales up 11.5%). Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said: “Whitbread delivered total sales growth of 8.0% in the first quarter as we continue with a relentless focus on our customers, innovation and investing in our strong brands. Costa has started the year well and Premier Inn continues to win share, albeit in a weaker than expected hotel market. Industry data has continued to show a soft hotel market in the UK, particularly in London. During the quarter Premier Inn grew total sales by 8.0% and like for like sales by 2.1%, which benefited from our substantial hotel extension programme. Against a strong comparator Premier Inn like for like revpar declined by 0.5% and total revpar declined by 1.2%. This reflects the market environment, the expected dilution of the impact of the extension programme and the circa 3,600 new rooms added in the final quarter of last year, which will mature over the next few years. We are on plan to open 4,000 to 4,500 new hotel rooms in 2016/17. Costa grew total sales by 11.5% with UK retail like-for-like sales growth recovering to 2.6%. We remain on plan to open 230 to 250 Costa stores worldwide and have increased our target to install at least 1,250 new Costa Express machines this year. Although it is early in our new financial year and despite current market conditions, with the benefit of our cost efficiency programme we remain confident of making good progress for the full year.”

Trading highlights for the 13 weeks:

Hotels and restaurants: “In the quarter, Premier Inn grew total sales by 8.0% and like for like sales by 2.1% benefitting from the extension programme. Like for like revpar for the quarter was down 0.5% impacted, as expected, by our substantial hotel extension programme and as stated above Premier Inn total revpar declined by 1.2%, with occupancy down 1.5% pts year-on-year to 79.1%. Revpar was up 1.2% for the total market and up 1.6% for the midscale and economy market. In London Premier Inn grew total sales by 5.6% in the quarter. Premier Inn like for like revpar was down 3.0% reflecting a soft market and the impact of our extension programme. Total revpar was down 6.0%, diluted by the high number of rooms which were opened in the final quarter of last year. Revpar was down 1.6% for the total market and down 3.5% for the midscale and economy market. In the regions Premier Inn grew total sales by 8.5%. Like-for-like revpar was up by 0.3%, again impacted by our hotel extension programme whilst total revpar was down 0.2%, again diluted by the number of rooms opened in the final quarter of last year. Revpar was up 3.2% for the total market and up 3.0% for the midscale and economy market. Restaurants delivered total sales growth of 1.4% and like-for-like sales growth of 0.2%, slightly ahead of a soft pub restaurant market outside the M25.”

Costa: “Costa had a good start to the year, growing total system sales by 11.4% to £414.3m (10.7% at constant currency). Within this, franchise system sales grew by 10.5% to £158.7m. UK retail system sales, grew by 11.4% to £226.5m with equity stores growing like for like sales by 2.6%. We opened 35 net new UK stores. Costa Enterprises (including Costa Express UK and international) delivered system sales of £103.1m, up 11.2%. Costa Express maintained its success installing a record 448 Costa Express machines in the quarter taking the total number of machines to 5,664. International system sales grew by 11.5% to £88.3m (8.5% at constant currency). In China we remain excited about the long term growth opportunity although recently we have seen a tougher trading environment, due to a weaker Chinese economy. We opened 18 net new stores in the quarter with 11 in EMEI and seven in Asia.”

Just Eat appoints new chief financial officer: Online food ordering firm Just Eat has appointed Paul Harrison as chief financial officer with effect from 26 September, replacing Mike Wroe who will be standing down as of that date. Harrison, who will also become an executive director, joins from WANdisco, the Silicon Valley-based London-listed software company where he has been chief financial officer since 2013. Prior to WANdisco, Harrison served as group finance director of FTSE 100 international software company The Sage Group for 13 years. Before that, he held a number of senior positions at Price Waterhouse. Harrison is also non-executive director at recruitment consultancy firm Hays and media company Ascential. Wroe joined Just Eat in August 2008 and played a crucial role in the company’s successful initial public offering (IPO) in April 2014 and its strong performance since then. The company stated: “The board would like to thank him for his considerable contribution to Just Eat, and to wish him well for the future. He will remain in the business until 31 December rand will be available through the first half of 2017 to support Paul during the transition to ensure a smooth succession.” Chief executive David Buttress said: “I would like to thank Mike for the outstanding job he has done as chief financial officer of Just Eat since 2008. In that time, Just Eat has grown from a small private company with a big vision, to a large public business with even greater ambitions. He has been a trusted colleague and friend throughout, expertly marshalling Just Eat through our IPO and our very strong performance since. I wish him all the best for the future. At the same time, I am pleased that Paul will be joining the Just Eat team later this year. He has an exceptional track record of delivering results at both high growth and large public technology companies. Just Eat is the market leader in our sector and Paul’s experience will prove invaluable as we continue to build on this platform and reach new heights in the coming years.” Wroe added: “I am proud to have worked with the team through some of the most exciting moments in the company’s development and to have helped Just Eat become a leading force in its sector. I have made many great friends within the company, and wish David and his team every success for the future. I will continue to support the executive team over the coming months and will then be looking forward to my next challenge.” Harrison said: “I am looking forward to joining Just Eat at such an exciting time for the company. I have watched its impressive development into a truly international company with clear leadership positions in markets around the world. I look forward to the opportunity of helping Just Eat build on this growth and continue to deliver exceptional value to shareholders.”

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