Punch to focus on managed pub business

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 22-May-2006

Related topics: General News, Company & City News

Announcing results for the six months to March 4 2006, which saw overall group turnover up 53 per cent and pre-tax profits up 13 per cent to £116m, the group said it had earmarked nearly 700 Spirit pubs to retain alongside its leased business.

Chief executive Giles Thorley said: "After some further disposals and lease conversions Punch will own a very high quality managed house estate to complement our highly successful leased estate.

"These extremely valuable trading divisions are well funded, have very solid infrastructure, and provide an excellent platform to further grow the value of the business."

Punch said that following a "full review of the Spirit estate the disposal of a further 380 managed pubs is now planned. The remaining 680 are high quality managed pubs with an average outlet EBITDA of £231,000 per annum and excellent growth prospects".

The group's first half figures were boosted by the acquisition last summer of Avebury Taverns as well as the Spirit pubs.

Like-for-like growth in the leased estate was one per cent, while EBITDA grew eight per cent to £232m - nearly £30,000 per pub.

54 leased pubs were acquired during the period, with 533 sold. Investment in the estate amounted to £37m spent on 408 pubs - £90,000 per outlet.

The group said it was too early to comment on the effect of the smoking ban in Scotland but believed it was "well advanced" with its preparations for a full ban in England and Wales, which it anticipated would be introduced next summer.

It noted the second half "has started well and continued the steady pattern of the first half. We look forward to an active programme for the remainder of the year and a satisfactory outcome with enhanced prospects for continued future growth".

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