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Tue 29th May 2018 - Bridgepoint confirms Pret sale, Upham trading update
Bridgepoint confirms Pret A Manger sale: Bridgepoint has confirmed it is to sell Pret A Manger to JAB, a global investment firm with a proven track record of investing in premium brands. The transaction is expected to be completed during the summer. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Pret maintains a strong presence in the UK and boasts a rapidly growing international footprint with a presence in the US, Hong Kong/China and France. Pret’s sandwiches, salads and wraps are freshly made each day in shop kitchens using quality ingredients. Pret’s offering includes an array of vegetarian or vegan sandwiches and salads, as customer demand for meat-free options continues to increase. The company operates 530 stores worldwide, generating group revenues of £879m. Clive Schlee, chief executive of Pret A Manger, said: “This is a day of celebration at Pret. This agreement recognises the hard work of all our amazing teams around the world. Bridgepoint has been wonderful owners of the business for more than a decade. All of us at Pret believe JAB will be excellent long-term strategic owners. JAB believes in Pret’s values and supports our growth plans. I am really looking forward to this next chapter of Pret’s story. I am also pleased to say that 2017 was another year of solid results for Pret, and we achieved our ninth consecutive year of like-for-like sales growth. The brand continues to thrive around the world thanks to our simple recipe of freshly prepared food, served by genuinely engaged teams.” Olivier Goudet, JAB partner and chief executive, said: “We’re very excited to partner with Pret and its talented team to continue their extraordinary growth story. Management’s proven track record and commitment to customer service, investment in innovation and approach to freshly prepared food position Pret well as it capitalises on evolving consumer taste and lifestyle preferences. We look forward to working with Clive Schlee and his management team, while promoting the Pret brand and supporting Pret’s impressive culture for the next phase in the company’s growth with JAB.” William Jackson, chairman of Pret and managing partner of Bridgepoint, added: “Pret has a unique culture and is a great British success story. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved over the past ten years with Pret and its management team. This has been a successful investment for Bridgepoint and illustrates how private equity, investing for the long term and working with talented management can deliver strong growth for the benefit of all stakeholders, customers, employees and suppliers and create real value for the wider economy. I wish Pret and its team continued success for the future.” JAB is acquiring its stake in Pret through an investment vehicle of JAB Consumer Fund and JAB Holding Company. JAB Consumer Fund is backed by a group of like-minded, long-term oriented investors and, together with JAB Holding Company, invests in companies with premium brands, attractive growth and strong margin dynamics in the consumer goods category.
Upham Group reports like-for-likes down 0.8% in first quarter, returns to Ebitda growth: Upham Group, the operator of 16 premium pubs across the south of England with its own regional brewery, has reported like-for-like sales down 0.8% in the first quarter of 2018. Sales in the quarter increased 6.8% to £3.3m compared with the previous year while Ebitda in the period was £36,000 compared with a loss of £16,000 the year before. It sold a further piece of surplus land at The Winning Post for £200,000 in February. The company reported “very strong sales” at The White Hart in Overton, Hampshire, and The Winning Post in Winkfield, Berkshire, during the week of the royal wedding. Further improvements were made across the estate, including two new bedrooms at The Winning Post and a new function room and conservatory access at The Navigator in Lower Swanwick, Hampshire. The company stated: “Overall sales for the first quarter of 2018 of £3.3m are 6.8% up on the same period last year, principally due to the inclusion of a full period of trading of the Weighbridge Brewhouse (purchased on 10 February 2017). At a group Ebitda level, the first quarter of the year has delivered a positive Ebitda of £36,000, compared with a loss of £16,000 in the equivalent period in 2017. However, partly as a result of adverse and sometimes extreme weather conditions in February and March and partly as a result from the significant trading disruption at a number of sites from development projects undertaken in the seasonal quieter trading period, year to date like-for-like sales across the whole estate are down 0.8% on the previous year. We continue to seek improvements to the estate and so far this year two new bedrooms have been added at The Winning Post and bedrooms have been refurbished at The Navigator, The Hawk and The Running Horse. A new function room and conservatory access have been added at The Navigator and additional outside service areas are soon to complete at both The George and The Hawk. At The Mill in Gordleton, a refurbishment of the main trading areas, including the conservatory terrace, is due to complete in the next few weeks. At the start of February, a further piece of surplus land was also sold at The Winning post for £200,000. More recently, a number of Upham’s pubs held special events to mark the royal wedding on 19 May, with some excellent results: for the week ended 20 May, The White Hart, Overton, recorded a 46.2% increase in gross sales compared with the same week in the prior year, followed by The Winning Post at 41.4%.” Chief executive Chris Phillips said: “The sector as a whole has experienced a challenging start to the year, and I am delighted, despite this, we are able to report overall sales for the quarter were up from the same period last year. Our principal focus for 2018 is to ensure that we continue to maximise operational efficiencies and sustainable profits growth in both the pub estate and the brewery, while delivering the outstanding beer, food, accommodation and service that our customers have come to expect from us. We enjoyed a brilliant royal wedding weekend across our estate and look forward to a successful – and hopefully sunny – summer season.”

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