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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 1st Nov 2018 - Update: Patisserie Holdings, Just Eat results, airport licensing proposals
Patisserie Holdings – no new information on company’s financial position at general meeting: Patisserie Holdings has revealed it will not provide “any new information” on the company’s financial position at today’s (Thursday, 1 November) general meeting. It added it was still “not yet in a position” to advise when shares would start trading again. Shareholders are meeting to decide whether to approve a £15.7m rescue share issue that has been previously proposed following the discovery of a £40m black hole in its accounts last month, which led to the company’s shares being suspended. The company stated: “As set out in the company’s circular to shareholders published on 16 October 2018, the company is holding its general meeting at 9am today to approve the issue of the conditional placing shares pursuant to the conditional placing. The company will not be providing any new information at the general meeting. The company is continuing to work with its professional advisers to understand the extent of the previously announced financial misstatements and potential fraudulent activity. As this work is ongoing, the board is not yet in a position to advise on when the suspension to trading in the ordinary shares will be lifted. The board is also responding to enquiries from multiple regulators and authorities and the outcomes of which are expected to take some time. In order not to prejudice these investigations, the company will be restricted at the general meeting from answering specific questions in relation to these events. The company will make further announcements when appropriate to do so and in accordance with applicable law and regulation. The company will announce the results of the general meeting as soon as practicable later today.”

Just Eat reports revenue growth of 41% in third quarter, UK orders up 16%: Online food delivery business Just Eat, has reported revenue grew by 41% to £195.3m in its third quarter ending 30 September 2018 and is up in the first nine months of its financial year to £553.7m. Revenue growth in the quarter was driven by strong market place order growth, accelerating growth of delivery orders and the inclusion of Hungryhouse. On a constant currency basis, revenues grew by 43%. Total orders were up 27% to 54.7 million in the quarter, with more than 57% of orders being made by app. UK orders increased 16% to 30.3 million, driven by strong trading in September, including its first weekend with more than one million orders, reducing the impact of exceptionally hot weather in July and August. International order growth was “strong” with its Canadian delivery business SkipTheDishes continuing to grow triple digits with the launch of multi-language capabilities. This latest update enabled full coverage across Canada, with expansion into Quebec, and supported the launch of new branded restaurant partners, including McDonald’s and Tim Hortons. The company stated: “As we approach the end of the financial year, the board now anticipates full-year revenues to be towards the top end of the £740m to £770m range and underlying Ebitda to be towards the lower end of the £165m to £185m range, primarily reflecting investments in our dynamic Latin America markets in addition to our delivery initiatives.” Chief executive Peter Plumb said: “The group has delivered another strong quarter as we helped our 97,000-plus restaurant partners serve more than 54 million takeaways to millions of hungry customers. Our increased investments in delivery, brand and data are already taking the Just Eat brands to more customers, making it easier for them to order from a widening choice, ensuring their takeaway moments are even more enjoyable. Our delivery expansion plans are on track, ensuring we give customers exactly what they want, and I’m very pleased with the progress we are making against our strategic objectives.”

All-day airport drinking set to be banned under new government proposals: Round-the-clock drinking at UK airports could become a thing of the past under proposals being put forward by the government. The Home Office is set to launch a review of licensing laws at airport terminals across the country, which could signal an end to early-morning drinking in airport bars and restaurants. Airlines and the Civil Aviation Authority have been calling for a crackdown on alcohol sales before flights following a spike in arrests for drunken behaviour, claiming they are saddled with the consequences of intoxicated passengers. Ryanair has previously called for more restrictions, proposing a two-drink limit for passengers and a total ban on alcohol sales in airports before 10am. Currently pubs and restaurants “airside” – after passport control – are exempt from the 2003 Licensing Act, which governs the high street. But under airline proposals, airports would fall under the control of the local authority – forcing pubs to apply for a licence if they wanted to open earlier. UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls told The Sun: “New legislation would be unnecessary and unfair and demonise pub-goers who deserve the right to enjoy a drink when going on holiday. The vast majority do so responsibly.”

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