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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 28th May 2019 - Update: Comptoir Group, Goals Soccer Centres, Vue
Comptoir Group – like-for-like sales ahead of last year, exploring ‘multiple opportunities’ for organic and franchise growth: Comptoir Group, the operator of Lebanese and eastern Mediterranean restaurants, has said like-for-like sales are ahead of last year while is exploring “multiple opportunities” for organic and franchise growth. Ahead of the company’s annual general meeting today (Tuesday, 28 May), chief executive Chaker Hanna said: “I am pleased to report the group continues to trade in line with management expectations. Newly opened restaurants are performing well, including the new Comptoir Westfield restaurant opened on 7 May. Like-for-like sales growth and margins are ahead of last year. The company has a robust balance sheet and is confident in the outlook for the year ahead. The board continues to take a cautious approach to selecting new site openings and is exploring multiple opportunities for both organic growth and further franchise opportunities.”
Goals Soccer Centres expects 2018 and 2019 results to be ‘materially below expectations’ as a result of VAT misdeclaration: Goals Soccer Centres, the operator of outdoor small-sided soccer centres with 50 that suspended trading of its shares on AIM in March while it investigates a £12m misdeclaration of VAT, has confirmed it expects its 2018 and 2019 full-year results “to be materially below expectations and historically reported financial performance”. The company said forensic accountants had been appointed to investigate its historic accounting policies and practices while it remains in talks with HMRC in establishing a timetable for resolving any misdeclaration of VAT and also to establish a final value. The shares remain suspended while the company said as a result of the ongoing investigation, it may not be able to complete its 2018 full-year audit by the 30 June deadline. Goals Soccer Centres stated: “Following our announcements on 8 and 26 March 2019, the company has continued to work with its auditors to complete the audit for the financial year ended December 2018 and to also assess historical accounting errors and policies adopted by the company. This work is continuing, but the board confirms it expects the 2018 full-year results to be materially below expectations and historically reported financial performance. The board can now also confirm that following extensive forecasting work on the financial year ending 31 December 2019, in which a number of new accounting policies, corrected accounting treatments and revised VAT assumptions have been adopted, it expects the financial year ending 31 December 2019 also to be materially below prior expectations and historically reported financial performance. Due to the nature of the historical accounting errors uncovered, the board has appointed forensic accountants, alongside its auditors, to investigate and report on historic accounting policies and practices used by the company in the recognition of revenue and the preparation of financial statements. On 26 March 2019 the company announced it had entered into discussions with HMRC regarding a potential misdeclaration of VAT. The company confirms it remains in active dialogue with HMRC in establishing a timetable for resolving any misdeclaration and also to establish a final value. As a result of the investigation into historic accounting treatments, the board is mindful it may not be in a position to complete its full year 2018 audit by the 30 June 2019 deadline as set out in the AIM Rules and Companies Act 2006, but it is endeavouring to complete this process as soon as possible and will make a further announcement as soon as it is in a position to do so. Trading in the shares of the company remains suspended, and the board does not expect trading to resume until it has clarity on the financial position of the company, specifically any potential liability associated with the company’s misdeclaration of VAT, and the audit of the 2018 financial results is completed and published. Discussions with our lenders are continuing, and remain positive as we seek to ensure that the company is appropriately funded going forward. The board would also like to confirm trading since 26 March 2019 has continued to be strong in both the UK and US, over the comparable period in 2018. The company will make further announcements in due course as the results of the investigation become known.”
Vue acquires Polish cinema operator: Cinema operator Vue has acquired Cinema3D in Poland. Vue stated: “Cinema3D is a modern, stadium-seated circuit that fits well within Vue’s international estate. The cinemas are located in retail and leisure developments and some of the largest shopping centres in the region.” The deal adds a further 13 sites and 65 screens to Vue’s portfolio, expanding its offer to 45 sites and 322 screens across Poland and 230 sites and 2,006 screens internationally. Vue has just opened its 13th site in Poland, in Warsaw, which operates under its Multikino brand. The new cinema has ten screens all equipped with 4K laser projectors and a total of 935 recliner seats. Vue founder and chief executive Tim Richards said: “I am delighted to announce another successful acquisition for the group as we continue our international growth strategy, creating and delivering a premium entertainment experience to more than 100 million customers a year. We remain committed to owning, managing and developing the highest quality cinema assets around the world.”

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