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Thu 27th Jul 2017 - M&B trading, Just Eat, Britvic and AB InBev
M&B reports like-for-like growth of 2.6% in most recent ten weeks: Mitchells & Butlers has reported like-for-like sales growth of 2.6% over the ten week period ending 22 July continuing ‘both the momentum reported at the half year and out-performance to the market’. Total sales have increased by 3.1% in the year-to-date. Food sales like-for-likes were up 1.3% in the period whilst drink like-for-likes were up 3.8%. The company stated: “As previously advised, increased cost pressure is expected to lead to margins being lower than last year. We have opened 13 new sites and completed 224 conversions and remodels in the financial year to date. The company has now reached agreement on the 2016 triennial pensions valuation with the scheme trustees. The agreed deficit of £451m as at 31 March 2016 (2013: £572m) will be funded by an unchanged level of cash contributions (of £46m per annum indexed) to 2023, as per the agreement reached in 2013. In 2024 an additional payment of £13m will be made into escrow, should such further funding be required at that time.” Chief executive Phil Urban said: “Sales performance since the half year has been encouraging, with strengthening like-for-likes helped by the sunny weather and continued outperformance to the market. The cost headwinds we face remain challenging. However, we are working hard to mitigate these where we can and we are confident that continued focus on the three strategic priority areas we have identified will help us to deliver a performance for the full year in line with the board’s expectations and will generate long term sustainable shareholder value.”

Just Eat reports 44% sales growth in First Half: Just Eat has reported its results for the six months ended 30 June 2017, with revenues up 44% to £246.6 million and underlying Ebitda up 38% to £73.6 million. Orders were up 24% to 80.4 million (H1 2016: 64.9 million), like-for-like orders were up 25%. Profit before tax was up 46% to £49.5 million (H1 2016: £33.8 million). It reported processed orders worth £1.5 billion for its restaurant partners, up 36% (H1 2016: £1.1 billion). Active users were up 19% to 19.0 million (as at H1 2016: 15.9 million). Orders via mobile devices accounted for 75% of total orders (H1 2016: 70%). Andrew Griffith, interim chairman, said: “This has been another excellent period of progress with revenues, profits and earnings all showing strong growth and once again demonstrating the strength of our business model. I would particularly like to commend the interim chief executive, Paul Harrison, and the entire team at Just Eat for their hard work and focus at a time of significant change in senior leadership. Today’s results, the recent appointment of Peter Plumb as chief executive and the very substantial headroom for further growth in all of our territories mean that we are exceptionally well-placed as we enter the second half of the year.” Paul Harrison added: “Just Eat’s marketplace connects millions of consumers to thousands of restaurants. The success of our business model is based on delivering ever-greater choice and convenience to customers, while bringing more benefits and services to our Restaurant Partners. We are pleased to see our continued investment in technology and marketing add value to both sides of this marketplace, which is reflected in the strong start we have made to 2017. Our largest competitor remains the telephone in every market where we operate. However, we continue to drive channel shift and are pleased that 75% of total orders are now placed on mobile devices. In the UK, we have seen increased traffic to our website and improved consumer reorder rates, demonstrating the strength of our brand loyalty. Our international businesses, now 43% of group revenues, have enjoyed further good momentum. In particular, the acquisition of SkipTheDishes has generated revenues above expectations and consolidated our market-leadership in Canada.”

Britvic reports strong Third Quarter: Britvic has reported Third Quarter revenue of £384.6m, an increase in constant currency of 6.5% on the prior year. Volume in the period increased by 2.3% and ARP increased 2.9%. Organic revenue, excluding the recent acquisition of Bela Ischia, increased 4.5% with volume and ARP ahead of the prior year. Simon Litherland, chief executive, said: “Our business is in good shape, we have continued to execute our strategic priorities and deliver a robust performance, whilst taking proactive action to successfully mitigate external headwinds. Trading in the third quarter has been strong with group volumes, ARP and revenue ahead of last year, driven by a range of factors including our focus on growth channels, successful revenue management, delivery of our business capability programme and favourable weather. Looking ahead to the full year, we remain confident that Ebita will be in line with current market expectations despite challenging comparatives for the fourth and largest quarter and a mixed economic backdrop.” The company added: “GB revenue increased 4.9%, with volume growth of 3.4% and ARP growth of 1.5%. Whilst our grocery performance was subdued, we grew strongly in the convenience and on-trade channels. GB carbonates revenue increased 7.6%, led by Pepsi Max and R Whites, with volume growth of 2.7% and ARP growth of 4.9%. GB stills revenue declined 0.4% with volume growth of 5.7%, offset by an ARP decline of 5.8%. Both Robinsons and Fruit Shoot volumes increased, but pricing was weaker due to aggressive competition in grocery. France revenue increased 11.0% with volume growth of 3.9% and an ARP increase of 6.8%. The continued growth of our brands ahead of private label and positive brand mix resulted in improved average realised price. In the quarter, the syrups range benefited from very warm weather and Fruit Shoot continued to build its category leading position. Ireland revenue increased 10.6%, driven by our wholesale business Counterpoint, which also benefited from the recent acquisition of East Coast Suppliers. Branded volumes, which exclude wholesale, declined 2.4% as we lapped a large comparable period. We continue to internationalise our business and invest for future growth. International revenue was flat in the quarter, with USA Fruit Shoot multipack continuing to grow but singles adversely affected by the phasing of shipments of concentrate. Performance in Benelux was subdued as we continued to focus on improving product mix and margin. As previously indicated, market conditions in Brazil remained challenging. Our brands have continued to take share and the roll-out of Fruit Shoot continues to gain momentum, benefiting from the combined geographical footprint of Ebba and Bela Ischia. Integration is progressing well and we remain on track to deliver a minimum $R10m of cost savings in 2018. Organic revenue, excluding Bela Ischia, declined 22.5% against a +37% comparable increase last year.” 

AB InBev – the UK had a stand-out performance in Quarter Two: Stella Artois brewer AB InBev has reported an outstanding performance by its UK business in its Second Quarter. Jason Warner, president, AB InBev North Europe, said: “The UK has achieved a standout performance in the second quarter of this year, continuing our positive momentum and maintaining top-line growth in double-digits, driven by strong performances in our premium portfolio and global brands. Four out of the top five brands driving growth in the beer category in the past year are AB InBev beers: Budweiser, Stella Artois, Corona and Bud Light. We are particularly proud of Bud Light’s position. Since Bud Light landed in March this year, causing a splash with the return of the iconic Bud frogs advert, over half a million UK households have purchased it and one in five of these have already made a repeat purchase, which we are really excited about. Elsewhere, Stella Artois has once again been named Britain’s Biggest Alcohol Brand in the off-trade and has seen strong growth following its iconic Wimbledon partnership. Budweiser is having a fantastic year, growing 15% year-on-year across total trade and 10% on draught, driven in large part by the brand’s football activations, with campaigns to surprise and delight fans through its sponsorship of the FA Cup. Finally, Corona is seeing huge growth in both volume and value and is the best-selling bottle only brand in the on-trade. This weekend sees the return of the Corona SunSets music festival to Greenwich, London, just one of the bold activations for the brand this year. We have made great headway so far during 2017 in the UK and hope to continue this top-line growth for the rest of the year. We want to grow the beer category to ensure long-term, sustainable success for our industry, business, employees, customers and shareholders, while continuing to innovate and create the beers that people love.”

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