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Fri 9th Jun 2017 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Industry unites to help terror attack victims: The hospitality industry is pulling together to raise funds for the victims of the Manchester and London terror attacks. Brewer and retailer Greene King is among companies pledging support for the British Red Cross campaign “Saturday Night for London”, which is encouraging people to go out for in the city this Saturday evening. All 260 Greene King pubs and restaurants in the capital will donate £1 from every fish and chip supper sold, while staff will hold collections with all proceeds going to the British Red Cross UK Solidarity Fund, launched in response to the attacks in London and Manchester. Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: “Our London pubs are places where people from all over the world come to enjoy their free time. Three of our own pubs were involved in the lockdown last weekend and we want to get fully behind the British Red Cross campaign to support people who have been affected by the terror attacks. Our team members will be encouraging our customers to give generously this Saturday evening.” British Red Cross chief executive Mike Adamson added: “The attack in London Bridge and people enjoying a Saturday night out with friends was an attack on the spirit of London. We want to encourage people to come together and unite at this difficult time. The new UK Solidarity Fund will support victims of the attacks and their families.” A fund-raiser will also be held at Katzenjammers bierkeller, which is next to Borough Market in The Hop Exchange, 24 Southwark Street, from 6pm on Sunday, 18 June. Entry will be free with all profits from the evening donated to victims and their families. Entertainment for the evening is being organised by Bebe Barry, who runs Katzpace, the venue’s in-house theatre. The event will take place in Katzenjammers’ Bierhall, which seats 200 people and features a stage. For further details, email Tony Barry at tony@redcarpubs.com or bebe@redcarpubs.com. A Just Giving page has also been set up. To donate, click here

Industry News:

Propel Multi-Club summer conference open for bookings, two free places for operators: The Propel Multi-Club summer conference and party is now open for bookings. The event, which takes place on Thursday, 6 July at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40, will also involve the Propel summer party in the evening. Operators can claim two free places by emailing Jo Charity on jo.charity@propelinfo.com. The speaker line-up for the morning session is NPD Group UK foodservice director Cyril Lavenant, Morar Consulting chief executive Roger Perowne, David Bruce, co-founder of Firkin Pubs, The Capital Pub Company and The City Pub companies and currently chairman of The West Berkshire Brewery, and Ali Khan and Samrien Hussain, who operate escape rooms business Tick Tock Unlocked. Speaking after lunch are Marston’s Revere Pub Company managing director Colin Sadler, The Breakfast Club co-founder Jonathan Arana-Morton, and Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin. The final session features Tahola commercial director Simon Blackbourne, Mowgli owner Nisha Katona, Amber Taverns managing director James Baer, and Rupert Clevely, managing director of Ei Group’s managed expert joint venture Hippo Inns.

US visitors continue to flock to UK for summer stays, new Expedia data shows: US visitors are continuing to flock to the UK this summer, according to new search data by Expedia. Searches made in the US in the first four months of 2017 showed strong double-digit growth of almost 45% for UK stays from 29 July to 12 August, compared with the same period last year, with tourists looking for an average package break of more than seven days. Total demand from US travellers for the UK in 2016 increased 30% compared with 2015. The top UK destinations searched for this summer were London, followed by Edinburgh, Glasgow, the north and highlands of Scotland, and Manchester. The fastest-growing locations in search popularity included south west England, Wales and Yorkshire. Julie Cheneau, Expedia’s director of market management for the UK and Ireland, said: “The US is a particularly valuable market that presents a tremendous opportunity for hoteliers as they are prized guests who generally book their trip further in advance, are much less likely to cancel, stay longer, and spend more when here.”

London-based Initial Capital leads funding round for first all-digital karaoke service: London-headquartered venture capital fund Initial Capital has led a €1.75m (£1.52m) funding round for Finnish startup Singa, which has developed the first all-digital karaoke service. The funding round, which also included participation from Tamares Holdings, Superhero Capital, Reaktor Ventures and Tekes, will support Singa’s expansion as it looks to cement itself as a household name in the global karaoke arena. Singa is described as cloud-based, Spotify-style karaoke. Chief executive and co-founder Atte Hujanen told BDaily: “Karaoke has not changed since the 1990s. This is one of those stories where you have a market that, at face value, seems unsexy but represents a huge opportunity flying under the radar. Singa is digitising and redefining an entire industry, striking at something people already love to do – singing.” The Helsinki-based startup has already raised €2.65m in funding, including this seed round, and provides more than 20,000 fully-licensed tracks on its platform. Initial Capital partner Shakeeb Alireza added: “(Singa is) uniquely positioned to become the leading player in a very deep niche with significant untapped potential.”

Campaign launches Beer Day Britain digital toolkit: Industry campaign There’s A Beer For That has launched a digital toolkit for Beer Day Britain 2017 in partnership with sommelier Jane Peyton, who initiated the event. This year’s initiative will include a festival running from Thursday, 15 June until Father’s Day (18 June). Kits for the Beer Day Britain weekend have been distributed to 1,500 pubs, with many more expected to back the initiative by staging their own events. There’s A Beer For That programme director David Cunningham said: “Getting involved and starting a conversation online will help licensees drive footfall and generate sales as well as change consumers’ attitudes towards drinking beer. By rolling out this toolkit we are providing engaging content for every pub, retailer, head office, beer writer and industry employee to celebrate Beer Day Britain.” Peyton added: “This digital toolkit means everyone can support Beer Day Britain, even if they’re unable to organise an event, and is a practical addition to the materials that have been made available to licensees.” The digital toolkit is available to download from www.beerforthat.com/beer-day-britain and includes two new videos, social media post content, fact sheets, images and logos.

Welsh cider and perry awarded protected status: Traditional Welsh cider and perry have been awarded protected status by the European Commission. The award ensures the products cannot be imitated or reproduced without meeting stringent criteria. In total, 14 Welsh products have now been awarded protected status, including Welsh laver bread, Welsh lamb and Halen Môn/Anglesey sea salt. The Welsh government supported the Welsh Perry and Cider Society during the application process. Lesley Griffiths, cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs, told Insider Media: “The recognition from the European Commission is important as it demonstrates the quality of Wales’ produce as we strive to reach new markets to grow the industry and prepare for a future outside the EU.”

Company News:

Thatchers reports profit boost as turnover soars past £70m mark: Somerset cider-maker Thatchers has reported a profit boost as turnover soared past the £70m mark. The company saw turnover increase 10% to £73,252,850 for the year ending 31 August 2016, compared with £65,752,262 the year before. Pre-tax profit was up to £2,240,406 compared with £1,766,383 the previous year, according to accounts filed with Companies House. It invested almost £6m in its production facility during the year. Managing director Martin Thatcher said: “The growth of the Thatchers range of ciders again outperformed the market and effectively gained further overall market share. The directors believe the group is well positioned to continue to grow the company on all measures. The group continues with its established programme of investment in plant and machinery in line with its strategic plan. During the year a further £5,983,034 was invested in the production facility. The strategic direction of the group is continuously assessed by the directors to ensure the group remains aligned with changing market and consumer expectations. The group prides itself on being able to develop new, innovative products while maintaining Thatchers’ reputation for quality premium ciders. The directors believe the group has established a strong market position and intend to continue to reinforce the group’s standing across all routes to market.”

Redchurch Brewery reports 11% sales growth in May, third consecutive record month: Redchurch Brewery, which is undertaking a £400,000 fund-raise on Crowdcube to accelerate expansion plans, has reported sales grew 11% in May – its third consecutive record month. The company, founded by lawyer turned brewer Gary Ward and television producer Tracey Cleland, saw total revenue of £148,000 in May and forecasts further growth this month to £164,000 – a further 11% rise. Last month, Redchurch secured a £1m-plus contract with Beavertown Brewery. Ward said: “Sales for May grew 11% on April, which itself was ahead of March by 7%. The six 10,000-litre fermenters have already been ordered to enable the Beavertown contract, which is fully on track to begin generating revenue in September. We fully expect to see sales grow in line with, or exceeding, forecasts and with the positive contribution to revenue from the Beavertown contract and renewed confidence from the removal of uncertainty across the UK following the general election.” Redchurch is offering a 9.09% stake in the business in return for the £400,000 crowdfunding investment and has so far raised £287,850 from 502 investors with ten days remaining. The largest investment to date is £30,000. The pitch states: “With the investment we raise during this round we intend to add further fermentation vessels to increase our production capacity to more than 1.3 million litres annually; invest in our packaging line to improve speed and efficiency, employ more brewers, delivery drivers and expand our stretched sales and logistics team; transform our warehouse space by adding a racking system; and add to our fleet of delivery vehicles.”

Cottons to launch third London site, in Shoreditch this month: London-based Cottons Caribbean Restaurant and Rhum Shack is to open its third site in the capital, in Shoreditch, on Monday, 19 June. The company closed its site at Boxpark Shoreditch in April in order to move into its 70-cover bricks and mortar site in nearby Curtain Road. Cottons’ jerk chicken and barbecue pork ribs are grilled and smoked over coals and oak-wood chips with hickory and pimiento and covered in a secret homemade jerk sauce. As well as its Caribbean street food menu, the Shoreditch beach shack will offer 235 different rums and classic rum cocktails at a tiki-style bar. The venue will open from midday to 2am daily. Owner Chris Singam launched Cottons in 1985, with the brand’s other sites in Camden and Notting Hill and a fourth site due to open in St George’s Wharf, Vauxhall, later this month featuring a terrace overlooking the Thames. Singam also operates pan-Asian bar and restaurant concept Miusan in Camden.

C&C Group executives see remuneration fall after missing out on annual bonus: Executive directors at C&C Group, the branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks producer, have seen their remuneration fall after missing out on their annual bonus. Chief executive Stephen Glancey received total remuneration of €1,052,000 for the year ending 28 February 2017, compared with €1,230,000 the previous year, according to the company’s annual report. This consisted of €708,000 in salary and fees, €111,000 in other amounts, €56,000 taxable benefits and €177,000 in pension-related benefits. Chief financial officer Kenny Neison saw his total remuneration fall to €759,000 compared with €882,000 the previous year, while international division managing director Joris Brams dropped to €398,000 from €466,000. The executive directors have been awarded a 1% salary increase, reflecting the average increase across the wider workforce. Remuneration committee chairman Breege O’Donoghue said: “The threshold level of performance for both the adjusted operating profit and the cash conversion element of the bonus was not achieved and no bonus is therefore payable.” The company’s annual meeting will take place on Thursday, 6 July.

Rola Wala to open second site next month, in Spitalfields: Indian street food brand Rola Wala is to open its second site early next month, in Spitalfields, east London. Founder Mark Wright opened a first permanent venue for the concept at Trinity Kitchen in Leeds in 2014. Now, having previously held Street Feast residencies in London, he is heading back to the capital to open the new site in Brushfield Street. Meaning “man that rolls” in Hindi, Rola Wala’s menu has been inspired by Wright’s travels around India and captures the flavours of Bombay beaches, Kolkata street markets and Keralan waterways. The venue’s decor references the Indian roadside diners that first inspired Wright, with the concept evolving while operating on streets and festivals across the UK. It will feature timber cladding, pendant lighting, scaffold polls, and metal shelving stocked high with spice jars. The focal point will be a large service counter designed to look like a kitchen, where guests can customise their food for a grab-and-go working lunch while two rows of high metal stools provide seating for those wishing to eat in. As a warm-up to the Brushfield Street opening, Rola Wala will launch a kati roll kitchen pop-up at The Griffin in Shoreditch on Wednesday (14 June). Taking a different approach to the fast grab-and-go concept at Spitalfields, The Griffin menu will offer a sharing menu of “Chapatti Kati” rolls. Rola Wala will also open a site at the £440m Westgate Oxford development in October.

Merchant House Group starts expansion with Fleet Street whiskey bar, second London site: Merchant House Group, led by Nate Brown and Lewis Hayes, who are also co-founders of drinks consultancy The London Bar Consultants, has launched its second bar in the capital. Merchant House of Fleet Street has opened in Bride Court, just off Fleet Street, and is described as a “hidden bar in the shadows of St Paul’s Cathedral” offering more than 500 whiskies, with a focus on Ireland and the Scottish coast, as well as floral whiskey cocktails, wine and beer. Some whiskies are from the British Isles’ remotest areas, such as Wick and Orkney, while there is also a range of American brands. The decor features marble-topped tables and velvet upholstered stools, alongside brass fittings and vintage prints. The venue also offers whisky masterclasses. Brown and Hayes said: “The world of whiskey is not just expanding at an exponential rate but the entire identity of the category is shifting away from stuffy armchairs and dark corners to fresh, floral and feminine spaces with delicious, invigorating cocktails. We believe we are contributing to this in our own small way.” The group’s debut Merchant House venue is in Bow Lane and focuses on gin and rum.

Pret A Manger to make Nordic debut with Copenhagen airport site: Pret A Manger is to make its Nordic debut by opening a site at Copenhagen airport, which is extending dining options in its Terminal 2 pre-security area with five new outlets earmarked for autumn openings. Other newcomers are gastro-pub Bar Jacobsens, vegetarian restaurant 42Raw, Thai cuisine concept Wok, and Riccos, which is known for its coffee and home-based products. Copenhagen airport director Lise Ryevad told The Moodie Davitt Report: “It is a huge accomplishment for us to be able to mark our new expansion with the first Pret A Manger in the Nordics. Denmark is renowned across the world for its expertise within gastronomy and cooking, which is also why it is important for us to offer travellers a broad selection of high quality food and beverage.” In late-May, Pret A Manger announced its debt swelled to £608m last year after a refinancing as the company geared up for a stock market listing in New York. Pret’s net debt rose from £577.4m in 2015, according to its latest annual report filed at Companies House. Pret, which has 440 stores, said £395m of the sum was external bank debt.

London-based dessert parlour Chin Chin Club starts expansion with second site, in Soho: London-based dessert parlour Chin Chin Club has started expansion by opening its second site in the capital, this time in Soho. The company, which launched in Camden Lock, has opened a venue in Greek Street, with customers able to watch ice cream created from scratch with flavours changing monthly. Chin Chin Club Soho offers cult classics such as The Brownwich and Chin Chin hot chocolate, alongside new dishes including The Choux-wich, a choux ice cream sandwich with Persian pistachio and olive oil ice cream. There is also the Avo Taco, a purple corn waffle taco filled with avocado ice cream and topped with house cream and crunchy fried corn. Designed by Santoma & Ramos, the restaurant features gold and marble decor. Chin Chin Club also operates a dessert bar on Fridays and Saturdays at Street Feast’s Hawker House space in Canada Water. The Soho venue is open daily from midday to 9pm.

Former Pret A Manger executive targets 25 sites in two years as Escape Hunt prepares to enter UK market: Escape Hunt, which is headed by former Pret A Manger executive Richard Harpham, is seeking sites to launch the concept in the UK. Escape Hunt is the largest global player in the escape room leisure market and has an “aggressive” acquisition programme, targeting up to 25 openings in two years, with eight secured by the end of 2017. Last month, the company became the first escape rooms concept to list on the London Stock Exchange when it floated on the AIM market following a reverse takeover by investment vehicle Dorcaster. Speaking to Property Week, Harpham said the company was targeting major cities and sites of 2,500 to 6,000 square feet in shopping centres and high streets. He added that windowless basement accommodation would also be feasible. The company was founded in Bangkok in 2013 by entrepreneur Paul Bartosik, with Harpham appointed chief executive earlier this year. Escape Hunt currently has about 40 sites, largely in Asia and the US, with plans to roll out the concept to mainland Europe as well as the UK. “The growth of the sector has been extraordinary,” said Harpham. “Until 2010, there were no escape rooms and now they are one of the most popular leisure pursuits.”

Former Savoy head bartender to launch French neighbourhood bar Coupette this month in east London: Chris Moore, former head bartender at the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar, is to launch his own concept – French neighbourhood bar Coupette – in Bethnal Green, east London, this month. Moore has joined forces with two of the capital’s other top bartenders – Franck Dedieu, formerly of high-end rum and cocktail bar Redwood, and Dan Schofield, previously at award-winning 69 Colebrooke Row – to open the bar, which will have a distinctly French accent focusing on regional liqueurs. Coupette is taking over the former Albion pub in Bethnal Green Road and will offer artisanal regional French gems such as Calvados with cold-pressed apple juice, French cider, truffled white negroni made with seasonal truffles, and champagne pina colada. The cocktail menu will draw inspiration from French culture, reports the Handbook. There will also be a fully French wine list, while food will include imported charcuterie, terrines and regional cheese alongside coffee, fresh pastries and weekend brunch.

St Austell Brewery launches largest marketing campaign to support flagship beer: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has launched its largest ever marketing campaign to support its flagship beer, Tribute. The campaign aims to bring Tribute’s “strong provenance and taste credentials” to life under the banner: “Quality speaks for itself.” The campaign will be supported by outdoor and print advertising alongside digital, in-store and PR activity. A Tribute brand video is also being launched as well as a new website. St Austell worked with creative agency A Little Bird and media agency Smithfield to develop the campaign. The 4.2% ABV premium cask ale was first brewed by the company in 1999 as a short-term ale to celebrate the total eclipse of the sun, becoming a permanent beer in 2001. St Austell Brewery marketing and communications director Jeremy Mitchell said: “This is our biggest ever marketing investment in one of our beers and, after an extensive brand review and customer research, we’ve developed the campaign to celebrate the qualities Tribute fans love most about the beer and what is important to them.” Meanwhile, St Austell Brewery has launched an American collaboration cask ale in Mitchell & Butlers’ Castle-branded pubs. Skipper, brewed in collaboration with Boston-based Harpoon Brewery, is being launched as part of Castle’s Craft Beer Festival, which is running until Saturday, 15 July with the beer available exclusively in more than 100 Castle pubs.

Bosi-trained chef Adam Rawson launches mini-burger restaurant concept in north London: Adam Rawson, who trained under Claude Bosi and Gordon Ramsay and who is reigning Young British Foodies chef of the year, has launched a mini-burger restaurant concept in Holborn, north London. Bite Me Burger Co has opened inside Hong Kong cafe concept Cha Chaan Teng in Kingsway but will move to a permanent home in west London in the autumn. Bite Me Burger Co offers bite-sized burgers such as the Lambtastic with stilton and smoked yogurt, and the BC with cream cheese aioli and bacon. The menu also features duck and chicken burgers, with vegetarians able to swap out the meat for any vegetable and an aubergine patty. The venue also offers a box of twelve mini-burgers to take away.

Marston’s to open new-build pub at Bilston residential development in October: Marston’s is to open a new-build pub restaurant at a residential development in Bilston, West Midlands, in October. The company is launching White Rabbit at the £176m Bilston Urban Village, creating 45 jobs. The name of the Bankfield Road venue is a nod to the mining heritage of Bilston and the surrounding area and comes from local accounts in the 18th century of miners being haunted by an evil spirit. A ceremony was held to ask for protection and guidance from the White Rabbit, a symbolic white witch figure who protected the miners and banished the evil spirit. Marston’s Inns and Taverns area operations manager Mark Griffiths said: “This area is the heartland for Marston’s so we are really excited to be part of this development. The pub is an extension of people’s lives so we are happy we can embrace this and provide the community with a place they can enjoy.”

Independent Lincolnshire brewery enters administration after CVA collapses: Independent Lincolnshire brewery Tom Woods Beers has entered administration after a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) it was operating under collapsed. The company, which brews about 170,000 pints a week from its base in Melton Ross, near Barnetby, has called in Grimsby-based CRG Insolvency & Financial Recovery to look after the day-to-day running of the company. According to Companies House, Tom Wood Beers’ accounts are overdue and the company has been operating under a CVA since December 2014, whereby it was scheduled to make four consecutive monthly payments to creditors of more than £2,000, followed by 35 payments of £4,000 or more. In February this year, it emerged the company was £7,000 in arrears with these payments but had paid back some £76,000 owed to creditors. The CVA would fail if the firm did not pay three monthly contributions, reports The Business Desk. Tom Wood brewed three core beers – Best Bitter, Lincoln Gold and Bomber County. The company has three directors – Tom Wood, John Wood and Mark Smith.

David Lloyd Leisure buys Harrogate racquets club and spa in off-market deal: David Lloyd Leisure has bought The Academy Health Club and Spa in Harrogate in an off-market deal. The company has acquired the site for an undisclosed sum from Academy Leisure through agent Christie & Co. Converted from a former National Power Training Centre and sub-station in 1994, The Academy extends to about 6,067 square metres (65,309 square feet) on a site area of roughly 2.49 hectares (6.15 acres). The Academy has been in the same hands since opening and operates as a family-friendly racquets and leisure club in the premium segment of the health club sector. David Lloyd Leisure property director Paul Guyer said: “We are delighted to welcome The Academy to the David Lloyd portfolio and have long been fans of the club. We look forward to working with The Academy team and to investing in the club and enhancing the membership experience.” The Academy managing director Philippa Shackleton added: “This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for The Academy as we look to build on the club’s reputation for class-leading facilities and service.”

Unity Bar Co to launch delayed Dunstable nightclub this weekend: Bedfordshire-based operator Unity Bar Co will finally launch its nightclub in Dunstable, near Luton, this weekend. Unity will open on Saturday (10 June) at a vacant town centre site in The Quadrant that used to house After Dark nightclub. Unity was originally due to open in November last year after the company signed a lease for the site in September. Steve Elliott, owner of Unity Bar Co, told Dunstable Today: “We have faced our fair share of problems but we’re very pleased to say we have overcome them all and are ready to open. The delays allowed us to spend more time making the improvements and getting the venue ready. Friday and Saturday nights will be commercial music with resident DJs, while Sundays will be live music with bands. We will launch our student night on Thursdays at a later date.” The venue will open from 10pm to 4am.

Yummy Collection launches new summer menu: Yummy Collection, the pub operator formerly known as Yummy Pub Company and led by Tim Foster, Jason Rowlands and Anthony Pender, has launched a new summer menu. New mains include a gluten-free grilled pork T-bone steak and seabass en papillotte. Additions to the tapas menu include crispy halloumi fries with garlic mayo, and beetroot salmon gravadlax, while summer desserts have been added such as a strawberry mess and a dark chocolate waffle. Rowlands, who is executive chef at Yummy, said: “Thanks to new communication processes put in place last year and dedicated teams both front and back of house, we’ve been able to collate valuable information about what our customers want and what they could do without. Our menu is a constant work in progress – we’re not precious about bringing back or letting go of dishes.”

Raymond Blanc launches gardening school: Raymond Blanc has launched a gardening school at Oxfordshire’s Belmont hotel, which houses the celebrity chef’s restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. The hotel’s two-acre vegetable and herb garden supplies Blanc’s two Michelin-starred restaurant with produce. The Raymond Blanc Gardening School will offer full and half-day courses led by the team that has managed the garden for decades. The courses will start in July, with the full-day option including morning tea and lunch. Winter lessons are also on the cards, hosted in a greenhouse, The Peak reports. In April, Blanc launched a chef scholarship programme at Ascot Racecourse, with a chef from the course working closely with Blanc and his Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons team throughout the year.

Numis Securities – Domino’s Pizza investors have potential to gain exposure through seven different equity vehicles: Numis Securities leisure analyst Richard Stuber has said Domino’s Pizza investors have the potential to gain exposure through seven different equity vehicles. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 510p, Stuber said: “Domino’s Pizza Eurasia has the Domino’s master franchise agreement for Turkey, Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, with a network totalling 571 stores of which 37% are corporate-owned. It has delivered 17% system sales compound annual growth rate and, from a low base, 73% Ebitda compound annual growth rate (circa £21m). Putting this in perspective, its store count is nearly half that of Domino’s Pizza Group with Ebitda less than a quarter. On balance, we think Domino’s Pizza Eurasia has most in common with Domino’s Pizza Poland. Among the seven Domino’s entities, we perceive wide variations in investment cases. Two entities (Jubilant Foods and Alsea) operate multiple brands, four operate in emerging markets (the two above plus Domino’s Pizza Eurasia and Domino’s Pizza Poland) and five have considerable corporate store exposure (the four above plus Domino’s Pizza Enterprises). Notably, Domino’s Pizza Group trades on nearly half the 2017E price-to-earnings ratio of its listed peers (20 times versus average of 46 times) yet with Ebitda growth expectations (24% compound annual growth rate) broadly similar. Combining valuation with our preference for a franchised, developed market option, we note Domino’s Pizza Group is trading at a 35% EV/Ebitda (49% price-to-earnings ratio) discount to Domino’s Pizza. Since its prelims on 7 March, Domino’s Pizza shares have fallen more than 20% and now trade on 19.0 times 2018E price-to-earnings ratio. The 1.5% like-for-like growth reported for the first nine weeks of the year raised questions around the impact of store splits, intensity of competition and cost inflation. Despite our preference to look at system sales growth, attention at its interims will inevitably focus on like-for-like growth. We note the first-half like-for-like comparables are challenging (first quarter 10.5%, second quarter 11.3%), but will become increasingly easier in the second half (third quarter 3.9%, fourth quarter 4.8%) post the anniversary of the Euro 2016 football championships (10 July). While we therefore do not expect the interim results in itself to be a catalyst, we think the combination of encouraging updates from the Nordics, comments on progress towards a more efficient balance sheet, and wider investor interest as a result of the imminent initial public offering of Domino’s Pizza Eurasia, should support the share price ahead of the third-quarter trading update in October.”

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