Brains reported flat EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) of £11.8m in the year to 30 September 2013 and said it expects trading to remain “difficult” in 2014. Underlying operating profit grew 1.3% to £3.7m in the year on turnover up 1.2% to £122.2m.
The company undertook 34 projects in its managed pub estate in the year, although just four were major schemes.
“To a degree this year is about following a similar pattern,” Waddington told the Publican's Morning Advertiser's sister title M&C Report.
The focus would be on doing existing things better, he added, including improved staff training.
Waddington said: “Moving forward we are looking more proactively at increasing investment in the tenanted estate. We have some repositioning opportunities there.”
He said a similar number of tenanted pubs to last year would be repositioned in 2014 — “if not slightly ahead”.
Waddington added Brains is “looking at the model at the moment in terms of whether we have the right agreements”.
There are plans to leverage more synergies from managed houses to help tenants, he said.
Brains has opened one or two pubs a year on average recently. It now plans four or five openings per year.
Waddington said it has the potential to go “way beyond” 100 sites for its Coffee#1 brand — it opened nine in the year, taking it to 35, and expects a similar level of expansion in 2014.