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Wed 22nd May 2019 - Update: Jamie Oliver, C&C Group and Britvic results
Bank to go after Jamie Oliver after UK restaurant business collapses: Bank HSBC and one of Britain’s biggest food suppliers are poised to pursue Jamie Oliver over debts after the chef’s UK restaurant business collapsed into administration. Oliver provided personal guarantees to HSBC and distributor Brakes after a previous restructuring in 2017 to shed loss-making sites, allowing them to claim against him personally for any unpaid bills, reports The Telegraph. Oliver has provided £4m of funding to his restaurant chain this year and the lending is understood to enjoy “super senior” status, meaning it will be repaid before HSBC, which is understood to be owed £37m. Meanwhile, Oliver was still in discussions with an unnamed buyer for the restaurant company until Monday (20 May), reports The Times. It is believed the sale fell through over fears the potential buyer did not have enough finance to make the investment needed in the restaurants. KPMG was appointed as administrators yesterday (Tuesday, 21 May) and immediate shut all of Oliver’s 25 UK sites except for the three at Gatwick airport resulting in the loss of 1,000 jobs. KPMG has appointed Christie & Co to work with it over the sale of the leases. Oliver said at the time of the announcement: “I am deeply saddened by this outcome and would like to thank all the staff and our suppliers who have put their hearts and souls into this business for over a decade. I appreciate how difficult this is for everyone affected. I would also like to thank all the customers who have enjoyed and supported us over the last decade, it’s been a real pleasure serving you. We launched Jamie’s Italian in 2008 with the intention of positively disrupting mid-market dining in the UK high street, with great value and much higher-quality ingredients, best-in-class animal welfare standards and an amazing team who shared my passion for great food and service. And we did exactly that.”

C&C Group reports adjusted Ebitda up 1.4% as Matthew Clark and Bibendum ‘change dynamic of business’: C&C Group, the manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks, has reported adjusted Ebitda was up 1.4% to €120.0m for the year ending 28 February 2019 aided by the Matthew Clark and Bibendum businesses. Revenue grew 3.2% to €1,574.9m, while operating profit increased 3.3% to €104.5m. C&C Group said Matthew Clark and Bibendum had changed the “dynamic of the business” in terms of access to the wider UK on-trade. For the 11 months under C&C group’s ownership, Matthew Clark and Bibendum generated revenue of €1,010.5 with adjusted Ebitda of €18.2m. C&C Group said trading at Admiral Taverns, which it acquired a minority stake in December 2017, had been positive throughout the period, benefiting from good weather, the Fifa World Cup and continued investment. Comparable Ebitda was up 1.8% to €23.8m; contributing €3.8m of after tax associate income in the year. The group reported strong performance from Tennent’s, Magners, and premium and wholesale businesses in Great Britain. Volumes in the period were up 1.8% for beer and 2.7% for cider and value was ahead by 3.7% and 4.3% respectively. C&C Group said it had made a strong start to the new financial year with trading in line with expectations. Chief executive Stephen Glancey said: “FY2019 was a transformational year for the company. Despite strong multi beverage brand led positions in Ireland and Scotland, access to the wider UK on-trade had always been a challenge, the acquisition of Matthew Clark and Bibendum changes this dynamic. At the heart of the business the Bulmers, Magners and Tennent’s brand remain remarkably strong and relevant to today’s consumers. We will continue to invest behind the long term health of these brands and innovate to ensure we adapt to changing consumer requirements and needs. Minimum unit pricing in Scotland demonstrated the value of strong local brands against price-led competitors. We are confident that the introduction of similar regulations in Ireland will be equally relevant to Bulmers. Our super-premium and craft range has delivered stellar growth in volume and value. We will continue to nurture and grow distribution for these authentic products protecting long-term equity value. The Matthew Clark and Bibendum networks, of course, will help achieve this ambition. In the acquired business our plan is to steadily restore the equity value rather than chase short term growth or synergy. Value and earnings from a low cost base will take priority and our focus will be on low risk, high value product and customers. We have continuing momentum across our business. The recovery and performance of Matthew Clark and Bibendum since acquisition is particularly pleasing. These factors contributed to earnings growth of 20% in FY2019. Reflecting the inherent strength of our business today, we are targeting continued, double digit earnings per share growth in the current financial year. Thereafter, assuming ‘steady state’ market conditions, we will target earnings per share growth in a mid to high single digit range. C&C is highly cash generative and has inherent balance sheet strength to support our targeted growth range.”

Britvic reports adjusted Ebit up 5% in first half: Britvic has reported adjusted Ebit increased 5.0% to £83.7m for the 28 weeks ended 14 April 2019. Organic revenue rose 1.9% to £769.2m, with profit after tax up 4.8% to £34.9m. Britvic said the introduction of the soft drinks industry levy in April last year had accelerated trend towards its low/no sugar portfolio with all three of its still brands – Robinsons, J2O and Fruit Shoot in revenue growth during the period. Chief executive Simon Litherland said: “I am pleased to report we have delivered another strong performance in the first half of the year. We have grown organic brand contribution in all our markets and increased group revenue, organic margin and adjusted earnings per share. As we anticipated, the soft drinks levy has benefited our portfolio, accelerating the consumer trend towards our heartland of low and no sugar brands. Pepsi MAX has generated more incremental retail value than any other cola variant, while the rejuvenation of the Robinsons brand continued to deliver both significant revenue and squash category value growth. Our transformational business capability programme is nearing completion and forms an important part of our broader commitment to building a more flexible and sustainable business model. In the second half of the year we have a range of exciting marketing and innovation plans, and I remain confident that we will achieve full-year market expectations.”

EasyHotel completes Blackpool acquisition: EasyHotel, the owner, developer and operator of “super budget” branded hotels, has completed the acquisition of a site in Blackpool. The company stated: “Planning permission for the 104-bedroom purpose-built hotel has recently been granted and works are due to commence over the summer. Alongside the hotel the site will include A3 space for restaurants or cafes on the ground floor, which is expected to be let or sold once the development has been completed. The hotel is expected to open in the second half of 2020. Located on the city’s iconic Promenade, the hotel will be ideally situated less than 500 metres from Blackpool South station.”

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