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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 22nd Mar 2018 - Update: Adnams results, Fuller’s, Easyhotel, Darren Tristano
Adnams report turnover growth operating profit down in year of investment: Adnams, the Suffolk brewer, distiller and retailer, has reported sales up 6.2% to £74.8m for the 12 months to 31 December 2017, with operating profit down 45% to £2.2m after a year of investment. The company stated: “The investment included: transformation of the Swan Hotel, Southwold into an iconic destination; completion of a three year investment project in the brewery, giving the capacity, flexibility and adaptability to deliver the demands of today’s beer market; commencement of a project to install equipment to make low alcohol beer and pave the way for the introduction of an alcohol free version of Ghost Ship in May 2018; an IT systems upgrade that will continue into 2018.” Jonathan Adnams OBE, chairman, said: “2017 was a year of huge investment. We saw some inevitable disruption, but we delivered substantial change. We continue to focus on what matters most. To deliver a service and product which allows us to stand out from the crowd. To grow the business when and where appropriate, answering increasing market demand. And above all to delight our new and loyal customers in everything we do.” He added: “The markets in which Adnams competes have changed radically in recent years and it is essential that we invest appropriately to grow our business. We invested £9.3 million in 2017, an exceptional amount by Adnams’ historic standards. This spend, which was focussed in our brewery and in transforming The Swan Hotel, was flagged in recent reports and discussed at our 2017 AGM. I am pleased to be able to tell shareholders that these plans have been delivered and we are delighted with the results. Two other projects are in train, the installation of dealcoholisation equipment in the brewery and new core computer systems for the company. The former will be complete by the time you read this report and the latter will finish later this year. Such substantial change within a single year has had an inevitable impact on our results. Though turnover rose 6.4% to £74.8 million, operating profits of £2.2 million, before highlighted items, were substantially lower than the £3.9 million earned in 2016. We are highlighting £721,000 of extra costs most of which were the unexpected price of needing to remove asbestos from the Swan building. Our operating profit, before highlighted items, in 2017 was £2.2 million. This was well down on our 2016 result of £3.9 million. In a year of exceptional investment, there was inevitable disruption in our business. Most notably we lost over £1 million of income from The Swan Hotel being closed for the majority of the year. On top of this we incurred extra costs in the brewery from changes and disruptions as the three year investment project concluded and the new equipment was brought on stream. Computer system changes during the year, and which will continue into 2018, have also driven extra cost ahead of our being able to fully migrate to the new system. Our depreciation charge in 2017 was £358,000 higher than in 2016 as we started to depreciate our new investments. This will be higher again in 2018, though we will also be starting to benefit from the investments that we have made. 2017 was a challenging and busy year for Adnams, though one that it was imperative to face to orientate ourselves for the future. Our beer business has for a few years been adapting to the growing market for bottles, cans and kegs. We have invested to allow for our continued growth in these areas. A further move is happening in terms of an increased interest in low alcohol and alcohol-free beers, here too we are investing. The holiday hotel market has been challenged by cheaper competition and by a fast-expanding business in rental properties. Nonetheless, premium hotels offering unique experiences are much prized and we have invested to make The Swan such a destination. These changes and investments position us well for the future, however they have inevitably had an impact on our day-to-day operations. They have also made clear the need to have up-to-date systems to help us cope with a changing environment. Our investment in a new central system is focussed on this end. Our turnover is growing strongly, Ghost Ship continues its rise, Copper House Gin is cementing its position as a premium product, The Swan is looking at its very best and we believe that we are well positioned to take advantage of the investments that we have made.”

Fuller’s appoints Juliette Stacey as non-executive director: Fuller, Smith & Turner, the London brewer and premium pub company, has announced that Juliette Stacey has joined as an independent non-executive director with immediate effect, replacing Lynn Fordham, chair of the Audit Committee, who is standing down after the full year results in June. Lynn Fordham has made a significant contribution to the company during her tenure through her excellent stewardship of the Audit Committee and her strong financial insight. Fuller’s chairman Michael Turner said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lynn for her hard work and wise counsel during her time at Fuller’s. She has been a great asset for us and I wish her every success in the future.” Lynn Fordham commented: “I have had seven enjoyable years at Fuller’s and I wish the company continued success. It has been an exciting time to be part of the team.” Juliette Stacey is chief executive of Mabey Holdings Limited, a family-owned leading international bridge and engineering services specialist. At Mabey, she has led a major programme of restructuring and refocusing on core growth markets. Prior to taking on the chief executive position, Juliette was Mabey’s chief financial officer and she previously held senior positions at companies including Savills and Ernst & Young. She commented: “I’m delighted to join the Fuller’s board. It’s a company I have long admired and I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the team.” Michael Turner added: “Juliette trained as a chartered accountant and she will bring a wealth of business experience with her. I am confident she will add depth and new strengths to our board and play a key role in working with our senior team to take the company on to further success.”

Easyhotel signs up franchisee to open Malaga hotel: Easyhotel, the owner, developer and operator of super budget branded hotels, has signed a franchise agreement with Continuum Hospitality Group for the development of a 146-room hotel in Malaga, Spain. The hotel is centrally located in the popular port city of Malaga, less than five minutes walk from the cruise terminal and just 200m from Malaga high-speed train station. The city welcomed more than 1.2 million tourists in 2016 with tourism arrivals having grown by 6.7% on average every year since 2009. International tourism has been a key driver behind tourism growth in Malaga and represents more than half of the total visitors to the city. The hotel will be developed and subsequently managed by Continuum Hospitality Group, backed by investor Extendam and is scheduled to open in 2019. Easyhotel Malaga will be the group’s second hotel now under development in Spain. The group’s owned hotel in Barcelona is due to open in Summer 2018. The group has also opened a new franchise hotel in the Netherlands. The 87-room Easyhotel has now opened at The Hague Scheveningen Beach, one of Holland’s most popular seaside resorts. Guy Parsons, chief executive of Easyhotel, said: “We continue to expand our franchise portfolio in key international destinations and I am delighted that we are strengthening our presence in both of these important European tourist resorts, working alongside highly experienced partners. These additions will take our franchise portfolio to 1,728 rooms opened with 1,857 under development and the board looks forward to announcing further opportunities in due course.” Anna Cohen and Matthieu Dracs of Extendam, said: “We are delighted to be working with Easyhotel at this exciting time in their development. The brand offers Malaga’s visitors comfortable accommodation at highly affordable prices and we look forward to working together to develop their first hotel in this popular tourist destination.”

Darren Tristano becomes chief executive of CHD-Expert Americas: Former Technomic president Darren Tristano, who has presented regularly at UK foodservices conferences, has become chief executive of Chicago-based CHD-Expert Americas. He said: “I will continue to provide thought leadership, commentary and insights to the global food and foodservice industry. After 24 years with Technomic, I’m excited to explore the data insights and global research opportunities with a new organisation.”

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