In an update on the London Stock Exchange dated 19 May, the owner of some 70 pubs across East Anglia said it is keeping “a weather eye” on the long-term future of its pubs and their tenants, and anticipates pubs returning to paying full rent later this year.
“We have continued to support our pub estate through cancelled and reduced rents throughout this challenging period and keep a weather eye firmly on the long-term future for our pubs and our tenants,” chairman Jonathan Adnams’ update explained.
“We anticipate pubs returning to full rents later in the year provided we avoid further regional or national lockdowns. The successful roll-out of the vaccine has come as very welcome news as have reports of their efficacy in those vaccinated.
“We are cautiously optimistic that the second half of the year will see some steps back towards normality in the economy leading to customers once again visiting pubs. We anticipate that our accommodation led businesses will benefit from reduced foreign travel this year.”
‘Volatile’ trading environment
Adnams’ update comes after the maker of Ghost Ship Ale posted a pandemic loss during 2020, revealing that a swing of more than £4m landed it in the red.
Detailing its financial results for the year to 31 December 2020, the brewer, pub operator and retailer posted a £3.7m operating loss, versus a £719k profit for equivalent period during the year prior.
What’s more, according to reports by The Morning Advertiser’s sister title MCA Insight, Adnams also revealed that sales plummeted from £74.7m in 2019, to £50.6m in 2020 as respective beer and spirit volumes fell by 23% and 31% during the same timeframe.
The brewer and operator did, however, reveal that it reduced net debt by £8.3m (46.6%).
“The current trading environment remains volatile and uncertain with much of hospitability being closed or under severe restriction for the first half of the year,” Adnams’ stock exchange update acknowledged.
“The sector faces many headwinds before it can say it is clear of the pandemic and its aftershocks although many commentators are beginning to discuss an expected quick rebound in the economy.
“It will however, come as no surprise that trading revenues in the first half of the year have continued to be severely restricted and the company has mitigated this by a continued focus on cost control, cashflows and the use of Government support in the form of the Job Retention Scheme.”