St Austell Brewery back in profit post-Covid

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Strong recovery: St Austell Brewery has more funding available to improve further in 2022
Strong recovery: St Austell Brewery has more funding available to improve further in 2022

Related tags Finance Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office Tenanted + leased

South-west-based brewer and pub operator St Austell Brewery has reported a strong recovery and a return to profitability in 2021 after the impact of the pandemic.

Despite all its pubs and hotels being closed for the first four months of the financial year, the company reported an underlying operating profit of £11.3m in the 52-week period to 1 January 2022 while annual turnover increased by 33% to £156.6m.

Other key figures from St Austell Brewery’s 2021 full year results show total revenue in its Pubs, Inns & Hotels division was £62.6m (2020: £47.1m), with the company’s managed sites up 30% on 2020 and pubs in its tenanted estate up 38%; its Beer & Brands division saw revenues up 37% at £93.2m (2020: £68.1m); and overall, the company generated £17.9m of underlying EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) (2020: £3.7m) and had an underlying operating profit of £11.3m (2020: loss of £2.9m).

Unprecedented demand

Meanwhile, the company’s statutory operating profit was £11.7m (2020: loss of £7.9m); statutory profit before tax was £10.5m (2020: loss £10m); and underlying profit before tax and other items was £9.4m (2020: loss of £4.5m).

St Austell Brewery chief executive Kevin Georgel said: “Although our 2021 results were impacted by lockdown at the start of the year, we went on to experience unprecedented levels of demand in the south-west, particularly during the first four months after pubs reopened.

“Therefore, our main challenge for the remainder of the year was maintaining supply to meet this demand, while continuing to deliver a positive experience for all of our customers. This challenge was made even more difficult by the national labour shortage and failings within the supply chain.

“We entered 2022 in a much stronger financial position with a clear strategic direction that will enable us to unlock our potential. We have significant headroom in our available funding, which will allow us to invest in growing the business, while pursuing fitting acquisition opportunities.”

Pub estate investment

Georgel continued: “We are continuing to invest in our pub estate, which is well positioned to take advantage of emerging consumer trends, and our beer business is delivering significantly improved returns as we curate a brand portfolio that’s fit for the future. Critically, we are also committed to continued investment in recruitment and the development of our people. Attracting talent to our business and releasing the potential of our teams is more important than ever.”

St Austell Brewery non-executive chairman Will Michelmore added: “It’s very encouraging to report that once pubs were able to reopen, we managed to enjoy strong trading results. This will stand us in good stead for 2022 and beyond, as we look to build on our solid foundations and release the full potential of the business.”

St Austell Brewery owns and operates more than 180 pubs, inns and hotels, and breweries in St Austell and Bath.

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