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Wed 31st Mar 2021 - Fuller’s prepares for re-opening with share placing
Fuller’s prepares for re-opening with share placing: London-based pub operator Fuller’s is to place up to 6,455,447 new ‘A’ Ordinary Shares at a price of 830 pence each – to raise circa £53m. There is also an issue of B shares. The company stated: “The group started 2020 in an excellent position pre-covid with a strong balance sheet, significant liquidity headroom and trading in line with expectations. On average its pubs will have been open on only 27% of the 388 days between 20 March 2020 and 12 April 2021. Revenues in the group’s managed pubs and hotels will be impacted accordingly and are expected to be c.80% less than the previous 12 months ended 28 March 2020. Despite this, management has made excellent use of the enforced closure periods by continuing to innovate and invest in its premium pubs and hotels portfolio, ensuring the estate is in peak condition for reopening. In addition, it has continued to provide financial support to its tenants to enable them to rebuild trade strongly, protect its incredible pub, hotel and office team members and progress other projects essential to the future of the business. Consumer confidence built quickly when the group was permitted to reopen last summer and sales momentum returned rapidly with 79% of its pubs open by the end August which were trading at 78% of prior year levels, despite some restrictions remaining in place. Trading from staycations in its rural hotels and pubs with rooms was also particularly strong, with very high occupancy levels across its rural estate, demonstrating the benefits of Fuller’s balanced portfolio. The company has agreed a refinancing of its existing debt facilities with its relationship banks, conditional on completion of the placing, extending the maturity to 19 February 2023 and amending the financial covenants to a minimum liquidity level to 31 March 2022. The net proceeds from the Placing, together with the revised banking facilities, will strengthen the group’s balance sheet so it has the flexibility to take full advantage of the reopening of the UK economy and enable the company to explore growth opportunities in line with its long-term strategy.” Monthly cash burn has averaged approximately between £4 million and £5 million during periods of full lockdown. Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “The last year has been hugely demanding both for our business and the wider hospitality sector but we have risen to the challenges presented by the pandemic to emerge stronger, which is the Fuller’s way. We have used the time wisely, rightsizing our teams, building our digital capabilities by continuing to innovate, as well as investing in our properties, and we are confident that we are in the best possible position to reopen. It was clear the demand for our premium pubs and hotels was as strong as ever when we were allowed to trade last year, which gives us confidence for the weeks and months ahead. Over half of the UK adult population has now had its first vaccine and we have a great team of people in place who are match-fit and ready to welcome our customers back into our wonderful pubs and hotels. The additional financial flexibility we are seeking to put in place will enable us to further capitalise on the opportunities open to us as we execute our recovery plan and regain growth momentum.”

Updated Propel multi-site operator database available exclusively to Premium subscribers at noon today, Rowland – information is ‘invaluable’: The highly anticipated updated Propel multi-site operator database will be sent exclusively to Premium subscribers at noon today (Wednesday, 31 March). The exhaustive database of businesses, which comprises 1,628 companies, is the most comprehensive multi-site operator information in the sector – and reflects the tumultuous changes of the past year with several hundred businesses disappearing and several hundred new ones. Robin Rowland, operating partner at investment firm TriSpan, said the database is “invaluable” for investors and operators to navigate the sector. Rowland, who is chairman of Rosa’s Thai and Thunderbird, added: “It’s brilliant news that after a year of carnage we are going to get Propel’s database as we emerge blinking into the light. I see it as the sector’s go-to database both as an investor and operator. Having a handle on the number of trading units and key leaders keeps you one step ahead spotting and tracking the ‘rising stars’.” A new multi-site database will be sent to Premium subscribers at the end of each month with a report on new companies and changes in the multi-site universe. It provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different, and what each business specialises in. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Being a Propel Premium subscriber not only entitles you to the most comprehensive database of businesses in the sector today; those signed up also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. An annual premium subscription costs £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to sign up.

West Midlands-based Greek-inspired street food company to launch restaurant at Selfridges Birmingham: West Midlands-based Greek-inspired street food company Street Kitchen Brothers is to open a restaurant at Selfridges Birmingham. The Greek-Cypriot family-run business will open Kouzina – the first restaurant to serve authentic Greek food at the department store. The restaurant will launch with a takeaway offer and will seat 50 covers for all-day dining when government guidelines allow for indoor hospitality. Street Kitchen Brothers was founded by brothers Paul Polyviou and Chris Butcher, who are regulars at The NEC, Digbeth Dining Club, BBC Good Food Show and Lichfield Food Festival. Polyviou said: “Opening a restaurant in Birmingham is something we have always aspired to do and this has provided us with the perfect opportunity to take our business to the next level. We are extremely passionate about food and we do everything with our customers in mind.” Sam Watts, Selfridges Birmingham general manager, said: “I was first introduced to Street Kitchen Brothers, my local Greek takeaway, by a friend and was hooked immediately. I got to know Chris and Paul and, as testament to my love for their food, have worked with them to launch Kouzina at Selfridges Birmingham.”

Fledgling company Doghouse Pubs takes on debut site: London-based fledgling pub company Doghouse Pubs has taken on its debut site, the Perry Hill in Catford. The company, which is run by Phil Sutton, previously of the Florence in Herne Hill, and his wife Oonagh McCormack, will reopen the outside area of the pub on Monday, 12 April. Jamie Younger, who used to own The Palmerston in East Dulwich and still runs The Begging Bowl in Peckham, is looking after the kitchen, reports Hot Dinners. The menu will include beef shin croquettes with horseradish; and whipped goats’ curd with spring vegetables. There will also be a “smoked and slow-cooked section” featuring smoked chicken, brisket, shredded pig’s shoulder and celeriac steak, all of which come with house slaw.

Long leasehold investment interest of Guildford property let to M&B on market for £2.8m: The long leasehold investment interest of a Guildford property let to Mitchells & Butlers is on the market for £2.8m. Savills is marketing the opportunity at 16-17 North Street, which is currently let to and operating as All Bar One and a retail unit. The business remains unaffected by the sale. The sale price represents a net initial yield of 6.28%. The three story terraced property spans 8,108 square foot. The ground floor is split into a bar trading area (2,921 square foot) occupied by All Bar One on a lease expiring in 2033 and paying £185,000 per annum, and a retail unit (226 square feet) occupied by Guildford Cobblers. There is a basement area for All Bar One that comprises a prep kitchen with dumbwaiter, beer cellar, staff changing rooms and a number of storage rooms. The upper floors comprise of two self-contained apartments with a separate access and managers accommodation comprising a living room, two bathrooms, kitchen and double bedroom.

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