City Pub Group executive chairman Clive Watson commented on the reopening of his company’s freehold estate of 48 wet-led pub across London, southern England and Wales in the Group’s financial statement for the 52 weeks ended 29 December 2019.
During this period, City Pub Group recorded a 31% increase in revenue from £45.7m to £60m, as well as a 15.4% increase in EBITDA from £7.9m to £9.1m.
What’s more, Group like for like sales increased by 1.7% against a comparable period including the 2018 World Cup in Russia and a summer heatwave, while adjusted profit before tax rose by 4% to £5.3m from £5.1 million.
While the Group ended the year with net debt of £31m, its focus on acquiring higher turnover pubs and accommodation capability saw the total number of rooms in its estate rise from 54 to 172.
However, the Group’s statement explains that such growth was “immediately curtailed” by Covid-19 and the closure of its estate in March, with the Company forced to secure financial support from the Government, furlough 98% of its staff and cut director pay.
As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA), City Pub Group raised £15m from the successful placing of 30,000,000 new ordinary shares on 27 March, in addition to a £35m revolving credit facility.
Such measures have secured appropriate liquidity well into 2021 according to the Company’s statement, with the business now said to be in shape to re-open and take advantage of growth opportunities in the post-lockdown era.
“We are excited about the prospect of reopening, not least because we have an excellent team who are keen to get back to work and keen to show hospitality to customers again,” Watson said. “However, we will do it cautiously and above all safely.
“We will reopen with a reset, more efficient, streamlined business, reduced capital expenditure and our focus on the existing estate.
“We have a strong balance sheet not only to endure and prosper again, but also to take advantage of opportunities that arise.”
The Group also announced that it was in the process of introducing centralised sales and marketing systems to support its pub managers focus on the execution of City Pub Group’s post-lockdown offer.