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Thu 12th Jan 2017 - Casual Dining Group reports FY turnover and Ebitda boost, record festive performance
Casual Dining Group reports FY turnover and Ebitda boost, record festive performance: Casual Dining Group, which operates Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas, has reported a turnover and Ebitda boost in its full year results as well as a record festive performance. The company saw revenue increase 29% to £299m for the year ending May 2016 due to new site openings and sales growth from existing sites, as well as the acquisition of Las Iguanas. Ebitda was up 40% to £34m while £185m long-term financing was agreed with KKR, Pemberton and Barclays Bank, giving a stable platform for investment in the existing estate, Middle East franchise roll-out and acquisitions. The company acquired Las Iguanas for £85m in July 2015 and completed its integration into the estate. Casual Dining Group opened 26 new sites during the year and invested in the conversion of 15 sites to alternative brands. It refurbished 50 existing sites and synergy benefits from acquisitions are on-track. It made substantial investment in technology, giving the group the opportunity to improve productivity and take advantage of new payment IT. It has also invested in an innovative digital platform led by chief digital officer Célia Pronto, who was appointed in July last year. The company said there was a challenging outlook for the 2017 fiscal year as expansion continued, with sector headwinds such as regulatory cost inflation and currency impact. It expected continued sales growth and realisation of further cost saving initiatives. There would also be additional new site openings and brand conversions in the current financial year. The company would have an increased focus on international expansion in the Middle East. Three franchise openings in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will take place in the first half of the year while there are confirmed development agreements for 55 additional sites in the Middle East over the next six years. Meanwhile, Casual Dining Group also reported a record festive period between 5 December and 8 January. It saw a 10.8% rise in sales and like-for-like growth of 4.7% over the holiday period. It said “innovative Christmas menus” and a “digital-first approach to pre-bookings” drove the record festive performance. Web traffic increased by 37% across all brands with online bookings increasing 31% versus the previous year. Chief executive Steve Richards said: “All brands saw strong growth over the festive period, driven by our innovative Christmas menus and advanced party bookings derived from our expanding digital platform and active social media engagement. Our restaurant teams have worked hard and smart over the period taking share and improving margin in what is a very difficult market. Over the last year we have made strong progress against a challenging backdrop. We’ve invested across our brands and have now largely completed our refurbishment programme. We will continue to seek further opportunities as we look to grow the group.” Chairman Martin Robinson added: “The wider operating environment is undeniably tough and there are a range of cost pressures facing the whole consumer industry, which we are working hard to mitigate. We’re confident that through our continued investment, strong brands, outstanding team of employees and active engagement with consumers, Casual Dining Group is well positioned to navigate this difficult environment.” 

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