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Mon 16th Dec 2019 - Update: Fulham Shore results, Cineworld acquisition
Fulham Shore reports revenue up 9.3% in first half: Franco Manca and The Real Greek operator Fulham Shore has reported turnover for the six months ended 29 September 2019 rose 9.3% to £36.0m, compared with £33.0m the year before. The company reported headline Ebitda was up to £8.4m after adoption of IFRS 16 and £5.0m before adoption of IFRS 16, compared with £4.6m the previous year. Operating profit was £2.1m after adoption of IFRS 16 and £1.5m before adoption of IFRS 16, compared with £1.6m the year before. Profit after tax was £0.4m after adoption of IFRS 16 and £1.0m before adoption of IFRS 16, compared with £0.9m the previous year. The company opened six Franco Manca and one The Real Greek sites during the period. Since the period end, an additional Franco Manca has opened just off Bishopsgate in London along with a The Real Greek restaurant at Tower Bridge, taking the two brands to 51 and 18 sites respectively. Chairman David Page said: “We are pleased to have delivered good performance during the first half of the current financial year with revenue increasing by 9.3% across the group. The performance was driven by seven successful new restaurant openings as well as increased customer numbers in our restaurants. This demonstrates the exceptional quality and value-for-money proposition at both Franco Manca and The Real Greek.” The company added: “Current trading remains satisfactory but the sector’s outlook is not helped by poor consumer confidence. We are close to agreeing terms on further sites due to open in calendar years 2020 and 2021 in London and around the UK. Our opening plan contemplates growing the UK business by eight to ten restaurants in the next financial year. Over the next couple of years, we will seek to establish one of our businesses internationally. Following the half year, Franco Manca launched its loyalty scheme and phone app. The investment in this system has already attracted more than 55,000 users and, going forward, will provide an excellent platform for the business to build on customer engagement and to encourage more regular visits. As a growing restaurant business, our central team also continues to grow, ensuring we have the necessary resources to make this expansion successful. We continue to invest in our team members through providing better career pathways, training and support. The directors believe Fulham Shore, underpinned by the strength of its popular restaurant businesses and the widespread appeal of our value and quality proposition, is well placed to continue to address the challenges faced by the UK restaurant sector. As a profitable, growing restaurant company, we look forward to the second half of our financial year with confidence.”
 
Cineworld agrees C$2.8bn deal for Canada’s largest cinema operator: Cineworld has agreed a deal to acquire Canada’s largest cinema operator, Cineplex, for C$2.8bn. Cineworld will pay C$34 per share in cash and the deal implies an enterprise value for Cineplex of C$2.8bn (US$2.1bn), and a 2019E Ebitda multiple (including combination benefits) of 6.3 times. The acquisition will add 165 cinemas and 1,695 screens to its portfolio. Subject to Cineworld and Cineplex shareholder approval, and other regulatory approvals, completion is expected to occur by the end of the first half of 2020. Cineworld’s largest shareholder Global City Theatres, which holds a 28% stake in Cineworld, has agreed to vote in favour of the acquisition. Cineworld chairman Anthony Bloom said: “The board of Cineworld believes the acquisition of Cineplex is in the interests of its shareholders as it fits squarely within our strategic acquisition objectives and is expected to be strongly earnings and cash flow accretive. Going forward our immediate post-acquisition objectives will be to combine Cineplex with our US business to create a leading North American cinema operator; maximise the synergistic combination benefits of the Cineplex acquisition; continue the currently successful refurbishment of the Regal chain in the US; and focus strongly on a structured debt reduction programme targeting leverage towards three times net debt/Ebitda by the end of 2021.” Chief executive Mooky Greidinger added: “Cineplex is a great business. It is the number one cinema operator in Canada and is well positioned for further growth. The combination of Cineplex and Regal will create the leading North American cinema operator with unrivalled scale and opportunity. By deploying our operational best practices, we expect the transaction to create compelling value for shareholders and to be strongly earnings per share and free cash flow accretive. The acquisition of Cineplex strengthens our belief in the theatrical business, one of the most affordable out-of-home forms of entertainment. We constantly strive to provide the best customer experience and maintain technological leadership and we are excited about Cineworld’s prospects for 2020 and beyond as we look to complete the Cineplex transaction, our US refurbishment programme and the roll-out of Unlimited, and we look forward to the great selection of movies to come.”
 
Escape Hunt appoints new chief financial officer: Escape Hunt, the escape room company, has appointed Graham Bird as its new chief financial officer. Bird will join the company on Monday, 6 January from Gresham House, where he has spent the past four years and was one of its founders. Prior to joining Gresham House, he spent six years as a senior executive at PayPoint, latterly as director of strategic planning and corporate development. He was also executive chairman and president of PayByPhone, a multi-national mobile payments technology division of PayPoint operating in Canada, the UK and France between 2010 and 2014. He has also previously worked for SVG and JP Morgan. Escape Hunt chief executive Richard Harpham said: “I am delighted to welcome Graham to the board and I am confident his combination of board, public market and operational experience will add significant value to the company. I look forward to working with him as we continue to implement our strategy to drive revenue growth and expand the business.”

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