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Fri 13th Jan 2023 - Update: C&C Group reports year-on-year net revenue growth of circa 20% in December
C&C Group reports year-on-year net revenue growth of circa 20% in December, forecasts FY2023 operating profit of €84-88m: C&C Group has reported year-on-year net revenue growth of circa 20% in December and is forecasting a FY2023 operating profit of between €84-88m. In a trading update, the company said: “As outlined in H1 FY2023 results (announced on 27 October 2022), our outlook for H2 noted a potential significant impact from the continuing cost of living pressures facing consumers. Despite year-on-year net revenue growth of circa 20% in the key trading month of December 2022, we now expect the group’s full year operating profit range for FY2023 to be €84-88m. We believe consumer spending pressure is a driver behind this trading performance and will continue to be so in the near-term. Further, trading has been significantly impacted by rail network strikes in the UK, reducing footfall in urban areas over the key festive trading period. Despite the near-term challenges, the group will continue to operate well within its stated leverage range (less than 2.0x), and this, coupled with our strong free cash flow generation, will ensure that our stated capital allocation objectives are maintained. C&C will continue to review and drive efficiencies throughout our business while ensuring we deliver a market leading offering to our customers and consumers.” Since its first half FY2023 results were announced, C&C has said Emer Finn will step down as independent non-executive director, effective from 8 February. Chairman Ralph Findlay was also awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list.

Latest edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book being sent to Premium subscribers today: The latest edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book will be sent to Premium subscribers today (Friday, 13 January), at midday. The Blue Book now features 692 companies, while figures have been updated for 99 businesses. The Blue Book shows 406 companies in profit and 286 reporting losses. The Blue Book is updated each month and ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Propel is to add a fifth major database to its Premium service this month. The Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will be the first time full profiles of more than 650 of the UK’s top food and beverage operators will be available in one place. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database has taken 16 months to pull together, merging Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel's library of Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before, and regular columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett. This week’s Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers today at 5pm, will include Mark Lilley, co-founder and chief executive of Abokado and Chiktopia, looking at the tech transformation of the sector and how its saved his business, while sector analyst Simon Stenning examines the changing landscape of the UK foodservice market in 2023 and beyond.

Fresh hope on rail strikes resolution: Hopes of a breakthrough to end the RMT rail union’s crippling strikes were growing last night after ministers climbed down over demands for guardless trains. Train bosses discussed a new offer, including a pay increase of at least 9% over two years to workers for 14 train firms, up from 8%. The union was told that ministers were willing to scrap demands for more driver-only operated trains as part of a deal, reports The Daily Mail. RMT boss Mick Lynch said last night: “We have been in detailed discussions with [industry body] the Rail Delivery Group for the train operating companies. That’s all we can say at this time. We’re working on it.” Speaking to ITV’s Peston politics show on Wednesday night, transport secretary Mark Harper was asked if the strikes, which decimated festive trade for sector businesses, could soon be over. He said: “I very much hope so. I’m hopeful that now there’s a renewed offer on the table that can happen.” Even if a deal is struck between the RMT and 14 train operators, the union’s dispute with Network Rail will continue. The RMT has snubbed a 9% pay rise offer for 2022 and 2023 from the government-owned agency.
 
Streamlined menu makes Subway ‘attractive target to buyers’: Launching a streamlined menu has made Subway “an attractive target to buyers”, according to a US business analyst. It emerged yesterday that the global sandwich chain, which currently has circa 2,300 sites in the UK, had retained advisers to explore a sale of the circa 37,000-strong business which could be worth up to $10bn. Despite recent turmoil, including criticisms and lawsuits regarding its ingredients, Subway has seen a rebound over the last two years, with revenue up 13% to $9.4bn at the end of 2021. The latest revenue surge came after the launch of the Subway Series menu, which fulfilled chief executive John Chidsey’s goal of streamlining the food being served. The company also noted that its latest quarter, in October 2022, saw sales rise 8.4% compared to the same time in 2021. Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, told CNN Business that the changes have made Subway an attractive target to buyers. “While the programme has proven itself, it still has a lot of runway to boost future growth, which makes Subway a chain with good prospects – even in a slowing economy,” he said. “The optimistic outlook is one of the reasons Subway sees this as a reasonable time to explore a sale, and why it is likely to attract a significant amount of interest.”
 
Energy price cap set to drop: The energy price cap could fall below £2,500 from July, analysis has suggested, giving hard-up Brits hit with rising household bills more to spend on going out. An unexpectedly warm winter and substantial levels of gas storage have caused gas prices to drop in recent weeks. The price cap – the maximum energy suppliers can charge consumers for each kilowatt per hour of energy used but expressed as the amount a typical household would pay in a year – is forecast to fall to £2,478 according to financial services firm Investec. The figure is more than £150 lower than its estimate made on 4 January, reports The Daily Mail. Their predictions suggest the price cap level will fall almost £1,000 to £3,317 in April before reaching July’s low, and then increase to £2,546 again in October as winter approaches. Investec analyst Martin Young said: “Our tariff cap estimates fall again as wholesale prices have nudged down since our previous mark-to-market, and now stand in the region of £2,500 for the second half of 2023.” On Monday, the government announced a lower level of energy support for businesses from April. Under the new scheme, in a move which UKHospitality said will cost sector businesses a further £4.5bn, firms will get a discount on wholesale prices rather than their costs being capped as under the current one.

Holiday park operator reports ‘exceptional’ year following staycation boom: Waterside Holiday Parks, which operates four venues under the Waterside Holiday Group brand, has reported an “exceptional” year despite elements of its business remaining closed due to pandemic trading restrictions in the accounting period to 31 December 2021. The group operates Waterside Holiday Park in Weymouth, Chesil Vista and Osmington Mills in Dorset, as well as Tregoad Holiday Park in Cornwall. In 2021, the board took the decision to move the accounting year from the end of October to the end of December, making 2021 a 14-month year. For accounting purposes, Osmington Mills was not included in the figures. Turnover for the period was £32,735,721 compared to £18,271,660 in the previous accounting period, with a pre-tax profit of £6,734,290 (2020: £3,020,500). Ordinary dividends were paid amounting to £1,166,667, while the company was in receipt of government grants totalling £289,088 (2020: £484,079). In a statement accompanying the accounts, director Miranda Harris said: “2021 was an exceptional year despite elements of the business remaining closed due to government directives as a result of covid-19. This included the all-important Easter school holidays, which has traditionally been a major trading period for the industry. When the business was able to re-open, the UK holidays market saw a huge uplift in demand for ‘staycations’ and holiday home sales, and our existing owner base looked to enhance their experience further by upgrading their existing units. This, coupled with the difficulties in those families traditionally holidaying abroad, meant footfall into the business was the strongest it has ever been.”

Rhubarb narrows losses but reports turnover well below pre-pandemic levels: Food experience brand and events caterer Rhubarb narrowed its losses in the year ending 31 December 2021 but reported turnover still well below pre-pandemic levels. Pre-tax losses narrowed slightly from £3,347,221 in 2020 to £3,082,418. They were also an improvement on the last full year before the pandemic, with the company making a loss of £4,206,720 in 2019. Turnover rose from £9,264,267 in 2020 to £11,782,955 but is still well down on the last pre-pandemic figure of £38,011,685. Ebitda was minus £1,855,511, an improvement from minus £1,713,850 in 2020. The company received £922,865 in furlough grant income (2020: £4,409,936). In November 2022, the group’s bankers extended the repayment term of a £35m term loan and an £8m acquisition facility, both of which are fully drawn down, and both are now repayable by 3 June 2024. The company is a subsidiary of the wider RHC Topco group. In her statement accompanying the accounts, director Laraine Beament said: “The directors have prepared forecasts based upon the company’s and wider group’s 2022 budget and rolling forecasts for 2023 and 2024. 2022 Ebitda at group level is forecast to finish ahead of 2019 pre-covid levels, with group revenue circa £74m v £69m 2019.”

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