St Austell turnover breaks £100m mark

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: St austell, Cask ale, Profit, Public house

Bottled beer volumes rose 41.7% at St Austell
Bottled beer volumes rose 41.7% at St Austell
St Austell Brewery, the Cornish brewer and pub operator, saw turnover exceed £100m for the first time in its history in 2012 as it bought more pubs and sold more beer.

Turnover grew 7.1% to £106.1m, with profits before tax and asset sales up 3.5% to £9.7m and operating profit before other items up 3% to £10.5m. St Austell increased its final dividend on ordinary shares to 57p (2011: 54p).

Net debt increased by 20.4% to £29.5m.

Chairman Will Michelmore said: "Overall 2012 has been a challenging year and our financial performance reflects the tough economic conditions and the inclement weather that we have been trading in."

He said sales of its own beers continue to underpin operating performance. Volumes of draught beer grew 7.5% and bottled beer volumes rose 41.7%, which against a market decline of 4.7% and 4.6% respectively "must be regarded as particularly encouraging". A "significant proportion" of the increases came from national sales and wholesale, with exports up 37%; it now exports to 20 countries.

The new cask operations plant, opened in October, has already led to cost savings and "more effective logistics", said Michelmore.

During the year St Austell bought five sites from Enterprise and completed major refurbishments of two: the Three Crowns in Chagford and the Globe in Topsham. It sold five smaller sites "as we no longer considered these sites to be appropriate to our portfolio".

Capex in the year was £13.7m, made possible after a refinancing with RBS and Barclays at the end of 2011.

Michelmore said major events such as the Olympics, Euro 2012 and the Jubilee, when combined with the weather, "proved in many cases to have a negative impact on trade" and visitor numbers to the south west declined.

He said the first two months of the year "have met our expectations". "With the combination of our recent purchase of the Real Beer Company and our sponsorship of Somerset and Gloucestershire County Cricket Clubs, I am confident that we can look forward to a positive year’s trading in the south west."

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