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Mon 19th May 2014 - Breaking News - Shepherd Neame hails ‘excellent’ pub performance
Shepherd Neame hails ‘excellent’ pub performance: Shepherd Neame, the Kentish brewer and pub owner, has hailed an ‘excellent’ performance from its pubs division so far this financial year, with like-for-like sales in its managed houses up 8.8% for the 39 weeks to 29 March 2014, tenanted like-for-like ebitdar (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation and rent) up 4.1% and average ebitdar per tenanted pub up 6%. “Trading has continued to be strong through the spring months, reflecting the benefit of investing consistently in our pubs and brands, and the favourable weather conditions,” the company said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning. Total beer volumes for the period were down 0.3% after the company stopped brewing bottled Kingfisher lager in October 2013, but the core own and licensed portfolio grew by 6%. “This reflects a continued strong performance in our portfolio and good growth in the recently launched Whitstable Bay range,” Sheps said. It also warned shareholders of a dispute over the termination of its long-term agreement with the local water company as it switches to a new water treatment plant which will minimise the consumption of extract well water through greater recycling. “In the absence of a consensual resolution to this dispute, there is a possibility that arbitration could commence”, which could cost up to £750,000 in legal fees and the like, Sheps said. However, it said, “the company would seek to reclaim these costs as part of the arbitration process.” The full-year results for the 52 weeks ending 28 June 2014 are due to be released in September 2014, and Sheps said it was “confident” of delivering results in line with market expectations. It also announced that it was looking to reorganise its share capital, merging its A and B shares into a single class of Ordinary shares, which will be traded on the ISDX Growth Market. Each A shareholder would receive one new Ordinary share for every A share they hold, and each B shareholder would receive one Ordinary share for every 20 B shares they hold. So far shareholders holding more than 60% of voting rights have given irrevocable undertakings that they will vote in favour of the scheme. Shepherd Neame’s chairman, Miles Templeman said: “Shepherd Neame is a highly successful family business with a proud heritage, a clear strategy and a bright future. Following extensive consultation with our shareholders we have concluded that now is an appropriate time to simplify our governance and share capital structure and to re-align the voting and economic rights of A and B shareholders. We will continue as a private limited family company with our shares traded on the ISDX Growth Market as a low-cost dealing facility and with considerable tax advantages.”
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