Despite warnings that the cost of a “complex separation period” after selling its beer business to Asahi were higher than expected, Fuller’s announced what chief executive Simon Emeny described as “solid results” for the 26 weeks ended 28 September 2019.
Revealing its latest interim results, Fuller’s reported a 6% increase in revenue to £174.8m versus the £165m recorded for the first half of the year alongside the profit made from the Asahi deal.
What’s more, the pub and hotel business revealed that adjusted profit for the second half of the year was flat versus H1 2019 at £17.9m.
Fuller’s also revealed that its managed pubs and hotels saw like-for-like growth of 2.7% over the same 26-week period.
“These are solid results in the context of consumer unease reflecting the ongoing political and Brexit uncertainty,” Emeny commented.
According to Emeny, activity in the first half of 2019 constituted the “biggest transformation in Fuller’s history”.
“It has been a time of unprecedented change – and not without its challenges – but we have made good progress and we have a clear view and plan for the next steps in our journey from vertically integrated brewer and retailer to focused premium pubs and hotels business,” he explained.
“Since completing the sale of the beer business at the end of April, we have put a new executive team in place – designed for the business as it is today. We have signed a long-term supply agreement with Asahi to protect the status of Fuller’s beers on our bars, while also forging new and exciting relationships with other interesting suppliers. Post period end, we have also completed the return of capital to our shareholders and made a voluntary contribution to our defined benefit pension scheme to the tune of £69m and £24m respectively.
“Finally, we have secured new offices, in our Chiswick heartland, which we will move to in the spring. And to cap off the first stage in our modern history we have, post the period end, completed the excellent acquisition of Cotswold Inns & Hotels – seven iconic and beautiful freehold sites in the Cotswolds and two vibrant bars in Birmingham’s city centre.”
More than 1,000 bedrooms
As reported by The Morning Advertiser, Fuller’s acquired Cotswold Inns & Hotels – comprising seven freehold country inns and hotels alongside eight staff cottages – in October 2019.
“We hope the incoming government helps us to continue to grow our business by overhauling the business rates system, ensuring a manageable level of wage inflation and creating an immigration system that allows us to recruit and invest in excellent team members from both home and abroad.
“There are a number of exciting new sites in the pipeline including The White Horse at Wembley, The Windjammer at Royal Dock and The Parcel Office at Liverpool Street Station as well as our first addition to Bel & The Dragon, which will be in an existing tenanted site in Westerham, Kent. Major schemes will also be undertaken at The Mayfly in Stockbridge and The Bear at Burton near Christchurch, where we will be adding a further 10 bedrooms, taking our total to 1,038.
“Fuller’s is well funded, has a clear vision, a distinctive strategy, a portfolio of extremely high-quality assets and an excellent culture – which stands us in good stead to navigate further political and economic turbulence. Against this backdrop, and with an excellent and engaged team of people, we are poised to deliver further growth for our shareholders and our team members, and to ensure even more customers can enjoy all that Fuller’s has to offer.”