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Tue 28th Jan 2020 - Stonegate spent almost £60m on Bar Fever acquisition and Novus sites, full-year like-for-likes up 1.7%
Stonegate spent almost £60m on Bar Fever acquisition and Novus sites, full-year like-for-likes up 1.7%: Stonegate Pub Company spent almost £60m on its acquisition of Bar Fever and 17 sites from Novus. The details were revealed in Stonegate's accounts for the 52 weeks ending 29 September 2019, which also showed like-for-like sales increased 1.7%. Total revenue was up to £852.8m, compared with £774.4m the previous year while adjusted Ebitda rose to 133.8m, compared with £114.9m the year before. Loss before tax rose to £24.6m, compared with £4.5m the previous year. In January 2019, Stonegate acquired the 32-strong Bar Fever group. The accounts revealed the price paid was £26.9m. Post acquisition, Bar Fever contributed £19.0m of revenue and £552,000 in profit before tax. In December 2018, Stonegate assigned 11 sites from Novus and the accounts showed it paid £25m for them. Post acquisition, the sites contributed £21.5m of turnover and a loss before tax of £397,000. A month later Stonegate bought six Balls Brothers and Tank and Paddle sites from Novus, with the accounts revealing the cost was £5.3m. Post acquisition, the sites contributed £3.5m of revenue and a loss before tax of £281,000. During the financial year, Stonegate delivered continued growth in sales and margin from a multi-format trading estate of 763 sites. Like-for-like drink sales were up 2.1% but like-for-like food sales were down 0.5%. The percentage of pubs that had a five-star hygiene rating at the end of the period rose to 85.7% from 81% the previous year. The company invested £46.2m in the estate during the year, up from £34.6m the previous year. Return on investment increased to 35.7% from 35.3%. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Being a wet-led business, Stonegate continues to trade ahead of the general pub market and outperform the overall retail sector. Operating an adaptable multi-format strategy, we expect growth confidence to continue in 2020. Constant evolution of our formats is essential to meet the changing needs of the customer. The casual dining market continues to struggle with oversupply and deep discounting to attract customers, something we have worked hard to become much less reliant on in our offer.” In July last year, Stonegate agreed a deal to buy the 4,000-strong Ei Group for £3bn. The Competition and Markets Authority is currently investigating the deal and is inviting comments on Stonegate’s proposal to sell 42 sites to address local competition concerns. 

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