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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 3rd Jul 2018 - SA Brain appoints Alistair Darby as new CEO
SA Brain appoints Alistair Darby as new chief executive: Brewer and retailer SA Brain has announced the appointment of Alistair Darby as its new chief executive. Darby will join the company on Tuesday, 31 July following a comprehensive handover process. He will take over the reins of the brewer and pub operator from Scott Waddington, who will stand down after a 17-year tenure, as announced in April. Darby brings with him a wealth of experience in the brewing and hospitality industry, having held senior positions at a number of major companies in the sector, including managing director of Camerons Brewery, chief operating officer of Marston’s and chief executive of Mitchells & Butlers. He will be tasked with the continued development and implementation of Brains’ business plan. During the past 18 months, a number of key long-term strategic initiatives for the business have been delivered, creating a strong platform for the company to realise significant improvements in efficiency and profitability over the next few years. These initiatives have included the continued expansion of the Coffee#1 estate, now 90 units strong, confirmation of a partnership agreement with Rightacres Property to develop Brains’ Crawshay Street site into an estimated 2.5 million square foot mixed-use development that will become Central Quay and a phased move to a new brewery in Pacific Road, Cardiff, just outside the city centre. As a consequence of some of these projects, in the financial year to 30 September 2017 group turnover declined £12m to £123m, with the scheduled cessation of a major contract brewing arrangement accounting for £13m of year-on-year sales impact. The opening of 13 Coffee#1 stores helped realise increased sales in the division of more than £4m in a year when disposals of non-viable pubs resulted in reduced turnover in Brains’ pub estate. Gross profit for the year was £15.2m, with the decline in contract brewing accounting for 65% of a £2.6m gross profit reduction, with the remainder being attributable to “challenging trading conditions and increasing cost pressures”, such as those resulting from increases in the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage, food inflation, rates and energy costs. The year included significant exceptional costs relating to the move to the new site, which resulted in an operating loss of £3.9m. SA Brain chairman John Rhys said: “It is pleasing to see the realisation of a number of long-term projects over the course of the past 18 months and I am confident they will create a sound platform for the continued success of the business. I am delighted we have been able to attract such a high-calibre individual as Alistair Darby to lead our independent family company. Working together with Alistair to take Brains forward into a new era for the company is an exciting prospect. On behalf of the family and company, I would like to thank Scott for the significant contribution he has made to our business since he joined us in 2001. I have very much enjoyed working with him and wish him every success in his future ventures.” Darby added: “I am very proud and honoured to be given the opportunity to head up SA Brain, an iconic Welsh company and brand. I am looking forward enormously to working with the Brains family and management team, building on the excellent legacy created by Scott.”

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