H&W took home the title of Best Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (up to 500 sites) at this year’s Publican Awards.
Chairman Anthony Woodhouse said: “The team led by Matt Kearsey (managing director) are to be congratulated on for what has been achieved – such a demonstration of resilience does not happen by accident. Through the pandemic, we are justly proud of how H&W has resolutely stuck to its purpose and lived by its values despite the extreme pressure.”
Woodhouse went on to outline how the pandemic offered the business opportunities with properties.
He added: “In the short term, the cost to the company has been great. However, as has happened many times in H&W’s history, the crisis has given rise to significant opportunities to acquire both managed houses and business partnerships at very attractive prices.
“H&W has been able to grasp these opportunities due to its strong balance sheet, tight management of cashflow and the limited borrowings that were in place at the start of the pandemic.
“We also bolstered our resources by disposing of a number of smaller predominantly wet-led pubs that did not fit with our long-term strategy.
In September last year, the company disposed of nine sites, which were acquired by Red Oak Taverns.
Substantial property profits
“The disposals generated substantial property profits which resulted in a total profit before tax of £11.1m (2021 – loss of £15.1m),” Woodhouse said.
“Despite the acquisitions and high level of investment in our team and in our houses, net debt ended the year significantly down on the prior year at £45.3m (2021 - £60.9m).
In October, H&W reported a drop in turnover of 38.7% to £71.5m for the year ending 30 January 2021.