Luke Johnson buys 18.5% Eclectic stake, becomes chairman: Premium bar and nightclub operator Eclectic Bar Group has reported Luke Johnson is to become executive chairman and is buying three million new shares in the company. The move comes as Eclectic reports current trading over the last few months has continued to see competitive pressures in a number of locations. It stated: “Due to the pressure on sales and profitability the company has undertaken a review of all costs both at site and head office levels and it is implementing a cost reduction programme accordingly. Effects of current trading are likely to impact on the result for this financial year. Given current market conditions, we are retaining flexibility over the timing of the development and opening of our two new sites in Sheffield and Liverpool. An update on the progress of these sites will be given in September when we report our results for the year. Eclectic has completed the sale of its Lola Lo operation in Norwich to Be At One for an undisclosed sum. This disposal is consistent with its strategy of focusing on the higher contributing sites within its portfolio.” The Self Invested Pension Plans of Reuben Harley, Eclectic’s chief executive and John Smith, Eclectic’s chief financial officer, each intend to subscribe for 150,000 new Ordinary Shares. The subscriptions will raise £1.65 million for the company, and will provide additional working capital to fund the development of the Group’s business. The Subscription Price represents a premium of 3.1%. to the middle market closing price of 48.5 pence per Ordinary Share on 12 June 2015. The Ordinary Shares to be issued under the subscriptions to Luke Johnson will represent approximately 18.5% of the company’s issued share capital as enlarged by the Subscriptions. On completion of the Subscriptions, Reuben Harley will be beneficially interested in 2,006,920 Ordinary Shares, representing approximately 12.4% of the issued share capital of the company as enlarged by the Subscriptions, and John Smith will be beneficially interested in 1,253,719 Ordinary Shares, representing approximately 7.7% of the issued share capital of the Company as enlarged by the Subscriptions. Johnson has been appointed to the Board as Executive Chairman with immediate effect. Jim Fallon will remain with the business as a non-executive director. The company stated: “Mr Johnson has many years’ experience of guiding, developing and growing leisure businesses both in the public and private arenas. He has been involved in the hospitality industry for over twenty years, including as chairman of PizzaExpress Plc during the 1990s; co-founder and chairman of the Strada restaurant chain; and chairman of Giraffe restaurants for nine years until 2013. He is currently chairman of Patisserie Holdings plc, Gail’s bakeries (Bread Holdings Ltd) and Buffet Restaurants Limited.” Jim Fallon, Non-executive chairman, said: “The Board is delighted that Luke Johnson has agreed to join Eclectic. He brings a wealth of experience, contacts and opportunities to the business and we look forward to working with him to develop Eclectic further. Together with the existing team, and the injection of capital through the Subscription, he will help drive the business in the next stage of its development. On behalf of the Board I would like to express our thanks to Richard Kleiner for the contribution he has made to the Company over many years, including his valued service on the Board since February 2014 and also assisting Eclectic as a private company prior to its flotation.” Reuben Harley, Chief Executive Officer of Eclectic, said: “I am excited at the opportunity to work with Luke Johnson. We will continue to work hard on improving the core business, but with the additional skill set on the Board, and the net proceeds of the Subscription, we will be able to accelerate the Group’s plans and development as well as diversifying into a broader range of hospitality offers.” Luke Johnson, newly appointed Executive Chairman of Eclectic, added: “There is a great business within Eclectic with much potential, including some great people and an attractive portfolio of sites. It has firm foundations and continues to be cash generative. I look forward to gaining a deeper understanding of the business over the coming months, and helping them to plan and execute a strategy for growth.” Johnson will not draw a salary.
Domino’s hires new non-executive director: Domino’s Pizza Group has hired Steve Barber as an independent non-executive director and member of the board of directors with effect from 1 July 2015. On appointment, Barber will become a member and chairman designate of the Audit Committee. Steve is an independent non-executive director of Next. He has been chairman of Next’s audit committee for eight years and has over 40 years experience in accountancy and finance. The company has also announced that Michael Shallow will retire as chairman of the audit committee and from the board of directors on 31 July 2015 having served 9 years on the Board as an independent non-executive director. Stephen Hemsley, chairman of Domino’s said: “We are delighted to welcome Steve to Domino’s. He brings excellent financial experience as both an executive and non-executive director of FTSE100 and 250 companies in the retail and media sectors as well as the audit profession. His arrival further strengthens the Board as we continue to implement our strategy for growth of the business. I would also like to thank Michael for his contribution to the Board of Domino’s, most recently as our Senior Independent Director and we wish him well for the future.”
Majestic Wines reports profits down: Majestic Wines has reported sales rose 2.3% to £284.5m in the year to 30 March, with like-for-likes up 1.9%. Adjusted profit before tax excluding exceptional items declined to £20.9m (2014: £23.8m). Chief executive Rowan Gormley said: “I have only been group chief executive for ten weeks but it is clear to me that the enlarged Majestic Group has excellent future prospects. Majestic Wine has many unique competitive advantages, especially its incredible staff. When combined with Naked Wine’s digital strengths, and both businesses ability to source exclusive and exciting wines for their customers, we are uniquely placed to build a fast growing international leading wine specialist. Whilst my review of the business is ongoing it is obvious that we need to make investments to reinvigorate Majestic Wine. These investments will initially suppress profit in the short term but I am confident we can rebuild momentum in this excellent business. At the same time we aim to maintain the international growth trajectory of Naked Wine and crystallise the benefits of having the two businesses in the same Group. I am confident that we will create significant value for our shareholders over the medium term.”