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Fri 8th Jun 2018 - Fuller’s buys Bel & The Dragon, managed like-for-likes up 2.5% since year end
Fuller’s buys Bel & The Dragon for £18.5m, managed like-for-likes up 2.5% since year end: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s has bought Bel & The Dragon for £18.5m, which said it was a “perfect fit with our premium pub portfolio”. Bel & The Dragon has six country inns – five of them freeholds – across the south east with a total of 57 bedrooms. Fuller’s has bought the business from Longshot, the leisure operator run by Joel Cadbury and his business partner Ollie Vigors. The deal was announced as Fuller’s reported its full-year results. Like-for-like sales in its managed pubs and hotels were up 2.5% in the first nine weeks of the new financial year. For the year ending 31 March 2018, managed like-for-likes increased 2.9%, led by a strong performance from accommodation. Revenue rose 5% to £403.6m compared with £384.6m the previous year. Ebitda increased 2% to £70.9m compared with £69.2m the year before. Adjusted profit before tax was up 3% to £43.2m compared with £42.1m the previous year. Tenanted inns like-for-like profits were up 3% while total beer and cider volumes were flat “in a challenging market place”. It completed seven “transformational” redevelopments during the year. Digital projects undertaken in the past year are now live – including new food and menu management system, online booking and an internal communications app. The company continued the roll out of its new tenanted inns turnover agreement with 13 pubs on this model at the year end. Fuller’s acquired Dark Star Brewing – adding “further depth to our portfolio and broadening our customer base” and said it had an excellent pipeline of new sites and capital investments. Meanwhile, in the first nine weeks of its current financial year, tenanted inns like-for-like profits were up 2% while total beer and cider volumes were down 3%. In the current financial year, it has also acquired four sites from We Are Bar Group. The company added investment in new pilot brewery and improved visitor experience would increase innovation from its brewing team and “truly showcase our iconic Chiswick brewery to the burgeoning ranks of beer enthusiasts”. Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “The year has seen another good performance with a solid set of results, particularly from Fuller’s Inns. It has been a year of building for the future – with a number of internal projects coming to fruition. In February we were delighted to acquire Dark Star Brewing, a craft cask brewer in Sussex, and since the year end we have purchased an additional ten excellent sites. Our managed pubs and hotels have again delivered like-for-like sales that are above the industry average and our tenanted inns are making real progress with a 3% increase in profits. Although we have seen a marginal drop in total beer and cider volumes, it has been a year of progress for the Fuller’s Beer Company, which has a clear strategy to return to growth and exciting, achievable plans in place. The four sites we have acquired from We Are Bar Group are good, well-located additions to our City business and the six Bel & The Dragon sites are a perfect fit with our existing quality estate. They offer delicious, fresh food, an interesting and premium drinks portfolio and 57 bedrooms – all areas where we have expertise. While we are still in a time of national and global uncertainty – and we do not underestimate the related wider market and economic issues that we will have to navigate over the months ahead – we believe we are in a strong position. We have an excellent team of motivated people both at management level and throughout the business, we have pubs that are well invested and in strong, iconic locations, and we have a bold and proud portfolio of beer and cider brands. These assets are backed by a robust financial position and that puts us in a good place to continue to deliver for our shareholders, our customers and our employees.”
 
Time Out Group reports Time Out Market Lisbon performing ‘very strongly’: Time Out Group has said its Time Out Market in Lisbon has continued to trade “very strongly” and “bodes well” for its other five markets already announced. Ahead of the company’s annual general meeting today (Friday, 8 June), Time Out Group chief executive Julio Bruno said: “At the time of the preliminary results we announced good progress against our plan across all lines of business and this continues. Our Time Out Market in Lisbon continues to trade very strongly and its success bodes well for the other five markets already announced, including our Miami and New York markets that are scheduled to open in the second half of 2018. Overall the group continues to trade well and in line with the board’s expectations; we remain confident in meeting our strategic and financial goals for the year.”
 
Merlin Entertainments appoints non-executive director: Merlin Entertainments has appointed Andrew Fisher as a non-executive director, with effect from 1 July. Fisher will also join the audit and remuneration committees. The company stated: “Andrew’s appointment will add further breadth to the board’s existing sector, geographic and governance experience, with his particular expertise in digital and technology markets. Andrew is currently executive chairman at Shazam. Prior to joining Shazam in 2005, Andrew was European managing director at Infospace and managing director at TDLI.com. Over the past 20 years Andrew has led the successful growth of a number of technology-focussed enterprises.” Chairman Sir John Sunderland added: “I am delighted to welcome Andrew to the board of Merlin Entertainments. Andrew brings with him a wealth of experience in digital consumer and technology markets which will prove invaluable as Merlin increasingly focuses resources and efforts in this area.”

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