Published on 7 February, Ei revealed that its managed estate now comprises 398 pubs – an increase of 43 since 30 September 2018 – after the continued conversion of tenanted and leased businesses.
Moreover, the Group announced plans to continue pub conversions, anticipating that 460 managed pubs would be trading in the Ei estate by 30 September 2019.
Ei’s statement also revealed that during the 18-week period of 2 February 2019, like-for-like sales in managed pubs increased by 5.7% year-on-year.
The Group also revealed that the financial year has “started well” for its tenanted and leased businesses, with like-for-like net income growing by 2% over the same period off the back of strong festive sales.
£348m property sale
Ei Group also announced, subject to shareholder approval at the company’s AGM, that the first 348 of the properties to be sold to Tavern Propco would change hands in early March.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser, Ei Group agreed to the sale of 370 of its 412 commercial properties – including free-of-tie pubs and former pub sites converted for alternative use - to Tavern Propco for £348m.
Moreover, Ei announced that the return of £20m to shareholders via a share buyback programme was completed on 22 January 2019, with EIG having purchased 10.6 million shares for cancellation at an average price of 188.87p per share.
Chief executive officer Simon Townsend commented: “The year has started well, with growth being maintained across our operating businesses and, despite the ongoing uncertainty regarding the consumer environment, we are on track to deliver our plans for the year.
“The proposed disposal of a substantial proportion of our commercial property portfolio is in line with our strategy of unlocking the embedded value from every asset within our business and monetising that value creation for the benefit of all stakeholders.