Pre-tax profit grew 0.8% to £10.4m, with profit before tax and asset sales up 6.1% to £10.3m and operating profit before other items up 2.4% to £10.7m.
Total revenues in the 24-strong managed arm increased by 5.4%, with like-for-likes up 2.4%, led by accommodation (+4%). Like-for-like drink and food sales grew by 1.6% and 2.8% respectively and average EBITDAR per managed pub increased by 5.2% to £268,660.
Managed food spend per head increased by 1.7%. RevPAR increased from £43 to £50 following recent investments in the rooms; average weekly occupancy grew from 69.5% to 71.1%.
Revenues in the 143-strong tenanted and leased estate grew by 1.9%, which managing director James Staughton said was a “very creditable performance given the pressure on on-trade beer volumes during this period where the market declined by 3.6%”.
Two tenanted pubs were sold in the year, and Staughton said: “We continue to seek new acquisitions while selling smaller tenanted pubs that we believe are unsustainable in the longer term”.
St Austell said its tenants gave the company an approval rating of 83% compared to an industry average of 63%. Staughton said: “These scores are amongst the highest in the industry and we continue to enhance the support to our tenants in areas such as food, accommodation, coffee, wine and digital marketing.”
Beer sales grew 13.8% in 2013 against a total market decline of 0.4%. St Austell said it had been another record year for the sale and production of its own beers.
Meanwhile, the first four months of 2014 saw volumes of St Austell own beers increase by 16%, while comparable sales in the managed estate grew 10.7% on the same period in 2013, “despite the South West region experiencing some of the worst storms since records began”. A number of pubs were affected by the main railway line to Cornwall being cut off, and the Waterfront in Plymouth in particular “suffered severe damage”.
Net debt fell by 7.1% in 2013 to £27.4m due to “stronger cash flows and lower capital expenditure”. A final dividend of 60p per ordinary share has been proposed (202: 57p) giving total dividends for the year of £1 (2012: 95p)
During the year gross profit margin was 39.7% (2012: 40.9%), although the turnover growth meant overall gross profit rose by £2.9m to £46.2m.
Chairman Will Michelmore said: “During the year we have invested £7.6m (2012: £13.7m) of which the major investment has been the acquisition of a new site at the Quay in Exeter. It is proposed to carry out a major development of this site and open it in the autumn of 2014.
“We have also invested significant sums into our production facilities to ensure that we can continue to meet the increased demand for our beers. This has involved the installation of a new kegging line to cope with the growth of Korev lager, the purchase of additional dual purpose vessels and conditioning tanks, a new case packer to improve the efficiency of the rapidly expanding bottling line and the installation of a new beer centrifuge.”
There were major savings in operational costs in the year after the company took greater control of its distribution network to its national sales customers.
He said the company is negotiating on a leasehold site for a distribution depot in Avonmouth, a “renowned hotel” on the north coast of Cornwall and a further licensed property in Somerset.
“Following the good weather in July and August last year, we are hoping that this will reflect positively on visitor numbers for this year,” Michelmore said.
He added: “We are pleased to see the signs of an economic recovery and our strategy of continuing to invest in the business throughout the downturn means that we are well placed to take advantage of opportunities as the economy picks up.”