JW Lees 'hungry' for acquisitions in the north-west

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

'Positive growth': William Lee-Jones says 2017 has been a good year
'Positive growth': William Lee-Jones says 2017 has been a good year

Related tags: Jw lees, Cheshire, Public house, Generally accepted accounting principles

JW Lees, the brewer and pub operator, has reported record turnover of £67.7m for the year to 31 March 2017 and said it is hungry for acquisitions in the north-west.

Turnover rose by 5.6% or £3.6m on the previous year. However, operating profit fell by £869,000 (13.2%) to £5.7m and pre-tax profit (excluding property disposals) fell by £617,000 (10.7%) to £5.1m. 

The company said this was due to an increased level of investment in the business, including capital expenditure investments of £10.8m. This included the acquisition of six new freehold pubs and hotels as well as major investments of over £50,000 each at 72 sites. 

The six freehold pubs purchased included the Bear’s Paw, Chester, Cheshire; the Crown Inn, Lymm, Cheshire; the Frog & Railway, Heaton Moor, Greater Manchester; the Groes Inn, Conwy, north Wales; the Hanging Gate, Weaverham, Cheshire; and the Vale Royal Abbey Arms, Delamere, Cheshire. Four pubs were also sold in the year yielding a small profit of £75,000. 

JW Lees managing director William Lees-Jones said that the company remains hungry for acquisitions of both managed and tenanted pubs in the north-west. He also said the company remains committed to its three trading divisions managed houses, tenancies and free trade, as well as vertical integration in key service areas such as distribution and technical services. 

The company has also been working with branding agency Squad for the past 12 months on repositioning the JW Lees brand and will be unveiling the new look in November.

“We anticipate that short-term profitability will continue to fall slightly this year as a result of business interruption while we again increase our levels of investment in our estate, with our top hotel, the Alderley Edge Hotel, being fully refurbished as well as increased levels of expenditure in both our managed and tenanted pubs,” said Lees-Jones. 

“Bedrooms are becoming an increasingly important revenue stream and we now have 211 bedrooms in our managed estate of hotels and inns. We are in the fortunate position of having supportive family shareholders who want to invest in our business for the long term as well as being virtually debt-free.” 

Related topics: Other operators

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