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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 10th Mar 2023 - Update: Hostmore and Nightcap
Hostmore in talks with banks to amend bank facilities: Hostmore – the parent company of Fridays and 63rd+1st, has said it is currently in discussions with its lending banks to amend its existing facilities. The company indicated in an announcement on 10 January 2023 that its preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 1 January 2023 would be published on 16 March 2023. However, due to the talks with its banks, it said a new date on the trading update will be made in due course. The company, which is still searching for a new chief executive, said talks with its banks were “progressing well” and it expects them to conclude in the first half of April. It said: “A further announcement confirming the new date of the preliminary results will be made in due course whilst an update on the group’s amended banking facilities will also be provided as part of the preliminary results announcement. The above matter is unrelated to recent trading, with the company generating VAT adjusted revenues for the first nine weeks of the 2023 fiscal year that are similar to 2022’s comparable revenues. Related Ebitda and cash flows are in line with current market expectations for the full year.” Robert B. Cook stepped down as chief executive of Hostmore in January. Julie McEwan, previously chief operating officer of Fridays, was subsequently appointed interim chief executive.

Latest edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book to be released today: The latest edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book will be sent to Premium subscribers today (Friday, 10 March), at midday. It now features 709 companies that are turning over a total of £40.2bn. The Blue Book shows 455 companies in profit and 254 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. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. 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 are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Nightcap brings in former Greene King HR director: Nightcap – the owner of The Cocktail Club, the Adventure Bar Group and the Barrio Familia group of bars – has appointed former Greene King HR director Adam Dilks as its new group people director. Dilks joins after four and a half years with Greene King, including the last three years as HR director of its Premium, Urban and Venture Brands division. Previous to that, he was head of PR at Pendragon, before which he spent 11 years in various roles at Tesco, including group talent partner, people business partner and senior manager. Sarah Willingham, chief executive at Nightcap, said: “I am delighted to welcome Adam to the team. He is a perfect fit for our high energy, fun, exceptional executive team. He will be a great asset in our fast-moving business. I can’t wait to start working with him.”

Corporation tax hike will make Britain ‘significantly worse place to do business’: Jeremy Hunt’s corporation tax hike will make Britain a “significantly worse place to do business”, a top think-tank has warned. The increase, which will take the levy from 19% to 25% next month, will knock around £30bn from the UK’s annual economic output, the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) found. Ahead of next week’s spring Budget, CPS director Robert Colvile said the hike would be a “big mistake”, reports The Daily Mail. The CPS said raising corporation tax, while letting the super-deduction tax break expire, would make the UK a less attractive place to invest. The changes would see Britain drop from 10th to 33rd out of 38 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, based on the competitiveness of its taxes. The CPS said it is “not too late” to reconsider the tax hike, and the government should introduce a system to replace the super-deduction – which gives big tax breaks to companies investing in infrastructure and factory and machinery assets. Mr Hunt is considering replacement options such as a full expensing regime, which would allow investments to be offset against profits for tax purposes. The CPS said a “generous” version of the tax break could boost the economy by 3.4% in the long run – adding more than £60bn to GDP each year. Mr Colvile said: “We still believe that increasing corporation tax is a big mistake. But introducing full expensing as a replacement for the expiring super-deduction would at least compensate for its effects and persuade businesses to help deliver the growth we so desperately need.” The government said the UK’s corporation tax will still be the lowest in the G7 after April, while 70% of companies will be unaffected by the increase.

Hunt lines up pensions boost to encourage people to work longer: Jeremy Hunt will hand middle-class workers a pension boost next week in a bid to encourage them to extend their careers into later life. Whitehall sources said the chancellor will use the Budget to unveil “significant” increases in pension allowances. The £1million lifetime allowance on tax-free pension savings will see the first substantial increase for a decade, while the £40,000 cap on annual pension contributions will also be raised. Both moves are designed to tackle the “pension trap” which can leave some workers facing punitive tax charges if they continue working later into life. The hospitality industry is one of many sectors facing a recruitment crisis after tens of thousands failed to return to work after the pandemic. Helen Morrissey, retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdowne, said raising the allowances was particularly helpful to those with final salary pension schemes. “The lifetime allowance is not a rich person’s issue any more,” she told the Daily Mail. “Because of the way it has been reduced over time, it is now biting on a whole range of people who have long service, particularly where they are in a defined benefit scheme.”

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