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Tue 15th Jan 2019 - Charles Wells plans to double UK managed estate in 2019 as it reports turnover and profit boost
Charles Wells plans to double UK managed estate in 2019 as it reports turnover and profit boost: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells plans to double the size of its UK managed estate and grow its portfolio in France during the next 12 months as it reported a turnover and profit boost. The company, which sold its brewery to Marston’s in 2017, saw profit before tax increase 226.9% to £4.6m on its continuing business for the year ending 30 September 2018 and a 29.3% increase in underlying operating profit to £5.0m. Turnover on its continuing operations increased 8.6% to £43m and investment in its 174-strong leased and tenanted pubs equated to £2.3m. During the year, Charles Wells doubled its portfolio of Pizza Pots & Pints pubs to six sites, opened the Bull Hotel in Olney and acquired two pubs in France, bringing its managed portfolio in the UK and France to 23 pubs. Investment continued in its pub partner business with a record 13 developments during the year. Post year-end, it completed its joint venture with Little Gems Country Dining, acquired four managed pubs from the Orange Tree Group and purchased a further three pubs in France. Progress has continued towards creating a flagship brewery, with planning permission achieved and work due to start this spring. Chief executive Justin Phillimore said: “Last year saw us make the transition from a largely brand-oriented brewing business to a service-focused pub company fit to deliver strong growth for the future. We have made a large investment in our pub training and apprenticeship programmes as well as in systems to support our growth plans for the future. With virtually no debt we are in a very strong position to continue to invest in the UK and France behind our managed pubs and in our pub partner businesses. We are actively looking for acquisition opportunities in the East Midlands, East Anglia and the home counties and to recruit great staff to work in them. While the future will continue to remain uncertain for some time, we are confident great pubs will continue to thrive and that we are well positioned to grow over the next 12 months. We plan to once again double the size of our UK managed estate, are actively hunting for more great French sites and, of course, are excited to return to brewing when our new flagship brewery in Bedford reaches completion in early 2020.”

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