Anand confirms Greene King's BBPA exit

By Hamish Champ

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Greene king Profit Public house Rooney anand

Suffolk brewer Greene King has no plans to reverse its decision to leave the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the brewer's chief executive...

Suffolk brewer Greene King has no plans to reverse its decision to leave the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the brewer's chief executive Rooney Anand told The Publican​ today.

Speaking about the group's decision to exit the trade body next September, first announced in October, Anand said he and his fellow directors "felt very strongly" about Greene King pursuing its own PR and lobbying strategy.

Anand said he "didn't envy" the task of BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds and her colleagues as they tried to corral the various elements of the organisation's membership.

However he felt the different interests within the BBPA made promoting the industry less effective.

"There are those for whom being a member of the BBPA constitutes value for money," said Anand, who said Greene King's membership fees were "six figures".

"But we would rather take the resources that we had been spending on membership and use them elsewhere," he said.

Anand was speaking as Greene King announced pre-tax profits for the first half of its financial year up 2.8 per cent at £62.4m.

Greene King had delivered a strong performance despite the difficult trading environment, Anand said.

"We saw what was coming economy-wise in the autumn of 2007 and acted quickly. Three of our four businesses are showing an uptick in profitability and we are working hard to restore profits in our tenanted businesses too."

Anand said the cost of licensee support, which covered areas such as rent concessions, free beer stock and off-invoice discounts, amounted to £3m in the first half, versus £1.8m in the same period last year.

Support in the next six months would be between £3m and £3.5m, Anand said, with signs of recovery among the worst hit pubs hopefully being seen within 18 months.

"The tenanted business is a very profitable one for both our licensees and us, with margins in the region of 45 per cent. We can make attractive rates of return in both the tenanted and managed arms of our pub operation," he added.

Anand meanwhile said that on top of the seven Scottish pubs the group had bought from Mitchells & Butlers it was in talks with a number of vendors regarding more acquisitions.

"Following our rights issue and recent deals we've now got around £140m [to spend or hold onto]. We've got the flexibility to spend on acquisitions or use funds in other ways if the need arises," he said.

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