The low uptake of the market rent-only option (MRO) of the pubs code follows results from Punch and Enterprise that showed a much larger number of licensees requesting the option, which essentially makes the relationship between licensee and pub company solely one of property landlord and tenant, and the agreement changing to reflect the terms of a commercial, free-of-tie, long-term lease.
Admiral is dealing with the requests on a pub-by-pub basis, adding: "We have great belief and remain confident in the enduring qualities of well-run community pubs operating within a supported tied model. This model continues to provide low-cost and lower-risk opportunities for existing and potential licensees."
The wider financial results, which covered the 52 weeks up to 28 May 2016, showed that the company's turnover increased by 1.7%. This was led by the 111 pubs Admiral acquired from Star Pubs & Bars in October 2014; these sites saw double-digit growth in the second half of the financial year.
"The successful acquisition provides us with a high level of confidence in our ability to grow the Admiral business as suitable acquisition opportunities present themselves," a company spokesperson said.
'Passionately committed' to wet-led community pubs
This year has seen Admiral Taverns win at two award ceremonies organised by The Morning Advertiser. The company won Large Tenanted Pub Company of the Year at March's Publican Awards, while the Firbank in Wythenshawe, Manchester, secured Best Community Pub at the recent Great British Pub Awards.
Reflecting on the financial results, Admiral CEO Kevin Georgel said: "Admiral Taverns has had a good year. We have built upon the significant progress made over the past five years.
"Our strategy remains unapologetically consistent, enabling us to navigate the challenges presented to the industry by the pubs code and volatile market conditions and I would like to thank all of our licensees and the Admiral team for their hard work, dedication and entrepreneurship."
"We remain passionately committed to being the UK’s best operator of wet-led community pubs and firmly believe in the enduring qualities of the supported tied tenanted business model.
"We are focused on developing an estate of sustainable, well-invested pubs that sit at the heart of their local communities, operated by individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for their business.
"Admiral is in good health. We look forward with confidence, we have a strong balance sheet and we are well placed to pursue other strategic opportunities as and when they arise."