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Thu 6th Sep 2018 - Ei Group reports managed like-for-likes up 6.6%, launches £150m bond
Ei Group reports managed like-for-likes up 6.6%, extends banking facility, launches £150m unsecured bond offering: Ei Group has reported managed like-for-like sales are up 6.6% for the 47 weeks to 25 August 2018 and revealed it has extended its revolving credit facility to £150m. The trading update was issued in conjunction with the launch of a £150m unsecured bond offering and the tender in respect of its outstanding £97m convertible bonds. The company stated: “We have seen good trading in the second half of the year to date, aided by the good summer weather and England’s prolonged success in the Fifa World Cup. Our leased and tenanted estate has increased like-for-like net income growth to 1.3% in the 47 weeks to 25 August 2018, up from the 0.6% delivered in the first half of the year. We continue to invest in our leased and tenanted business in order to enhance estate quality and drive income growth, and we are working closely with our publicans to mitigate cost pressures. We have continued to convert selected pubs from our leased and tenanted business to our managed estate, which now comprises 354 pubs. This means we are on track to finish the current financial year with some 365 managed pubs, in line with our previous guidance. Pubs that have traded as managed pubs throughout both the 47 weeks to 25 August 2018 and the prior comparable period delivered like-for-like sales growth of 6.6%, aided by our particularly strong performance from beer sales. In line with our expectations, we have seen further growth in the number of properties trading on free-of-tie agreements. We now have 376 such sites and so have already achieved our previous guidance of 375 commercial properties by the end of the financial year. Pubs that traded as commercial properties throughout both the 47 weeks to 25 August 2018 and the prior comparable period delivered strong like-for-like net income growth of 6.7%. As previously stated, we are open to the opportunity to monetise the value of our commercial property portfolio. To that end, we have appointed Rothschild & Co to assist us to explore various possible routes to optimise value. This may include the disposal of all or part of the portfolio. On 15 August 2018, in agreement with our bank group, we increased the size of our bank revolving credit facilities from £140m to £150m and extended the availability of the facilities from August 2020 to August 2022 on substantially the same commercial terms. We have today (Thursday, 6 September) launched an offering of £150m unsecured bonds and a conditional tender offer in respect of the outstanding £97m convertible bonds in advance of their maturity in September 2020.”

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