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Wed 19th Jun 2013 - Spirit reports volatile trading; Amber Taverns results
Spirit – trading has been volatile: Spirit Pub Company has reported trading was volatile throughout its third quarter period of 12 weeks to 25 May with challenging conditions towards the beginning of the quarter offset by more encouraging performance in the latter half, following the return of more seasonal weather. Managed like-for-likes were down 3.8% in the six weeks to 13 April but bounced back to be 2.6% up in the six weeks to 25 May. The company said: “Our focus remains on developing compelling brands and pubs whilst nurturing talent and galvanising the leadership skills of our teams to deliver a consistently great guest experience and drive footfall. These goals continue to be supported by our disciplined approach to capital investment, with 64 pubs now invested in this financial year and return on investment remaining strong. We have also built three new Wacky Warehouses and extended two of our pubs as we seek to capture opportunities to maximise income and enhance value within our existing estate. Although reported over a slightly different time period our leased estate was similarly impacted by the exceptionally cold weather but has recovered since with net turnover up by 1.2% in the last four weeks. Net income was down by 2.0% in this period, reflecting the last phase of our rent rebasing process. We remain confident of returning the leased estate to stable like-for-like net income in the fourth quarter. To support future growth, we have now invested in 60 pubs in the year to date. With performance remaining encouraging we have identified further pubs for conversion to our new operating models, which we expect to complete in the final quarter. This will take the trial group to sixteen, eleven of which will be franchise with the remaining five being agreements with premium operators.” The company sold four pubs in the period, taking the total year to date to 24. Proceeds remain in line with book value. Chief executive Mike Tye said: “We are encouraged by this resilient performance despite extremely volatile trading conditions and uncertain consumer confidence. Both managed and leased pubs have delivered good growth in turnover after an exceptionally cold start to spring. We have the right balance of ingredients for success in the long-term, including our continued focus on delivering a great guest experience, building compelling managed brands, and an ongoing emphasis on investment and innovation in the leased estate. We maintain guidance for the full year, but are mindful of the remaining uncertainty around trading in the short-term, which has characterised recent quarters.”

Amber Taverns reports Ebitda up 33.3% to £6.8m: Amber Taverns, the owner of 86 managed, community pubs in the north of England, has reported turnover up 30% to £33.2m (2012: £25.4m) in the year to 3 February. Like-for-like sales for the year ended 2% up. Unit Ebitda increased 31.3% to £8.4m (2012: £6.4m) with company Ebitda up 33.3% to £6.8m (2012: £5.1m). Profit before tax increased by 22% to £3.9m (2012: £3.2m) with 11 new pubs opened in the year. Six new sites acquired since the year-end, taking the estate to 86 pubs currently. Chairman Clive Preston said: “I am pleased to report another year of substantial progress for Amber Taverns, with a solid performance from our core estate and new acquisitions continuing to deliver returns in excess of 20%. The Amber model of a well invested pub offering consistent value for money, together with an incentivised operator allied with managed house retailing disciplines and standards, continues to produce consistently good returns and cash flows from wet-led pubs despite the pressures on our customers’ disposable incomes. I remain confident that the sector will continue to throw up numerous opportunities for us, particularly as we further develop our presence in the Midlands, not only to keep growing but also to reinforce the strengths of our model in developing viable and sustainable pub businesses. We enter the new financial year with a strong pipeline of acquisitions identified and the directors remain confident for the year ahead.”

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