Thwaites in ‘very strong position’ for year ahead

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Thwaites in very strong position after good financial year

Related tags Thwaites Brewing Finance Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators

A year of “confident investments” has placed Daniel Thwaites in a “very strong position” to move forward in its new financial year.

The north-west-based brewer and pub and hotel operator has reported a 6% rise in group turnover from £108.8m to £115.5m for the 52 weeks ended 31 March 2024.

Operating profit was 7% lower at £11.5m (2023: £12.3m) due to lower profits on disposal of properties while profit before taxation was £9.1m (2023: £15.1m).

On the group’s future, Thwaites chair Rick Bailey said: “Factors that have been against us for the past few years, including inflation, a difficult employment market and the cost of living crisis are now abating and we are hopeful that the coming year will present a more stable trading environment.

“The UEFA European football championships present a good opportunity for pubs this summer, the inns continue to increase market share locally, our hotels are benefitting from a stronger corporate market and we have high hopes for the first full year of trading at Langdale Chase.

“This last year has been one of confident investment across every area of the Company and that places us in a very strong position to move our performance forward in this current financial year. We have high expectations that, all things being equal, this coming year will be a good one.”

£18.3m invested

On acquisitions, developments and disposals, he said no sites have been acquired but “a number of opportunities” have been evaluated.

However, £18.3m (2023: £15.6m) has been invested to improve the quality and offering in its existing properties, including the completion of the full refurbishment of Langdale Chase, which was a “significant spend”.

The company has sold 11 bottom-end pubs and two ancillary properties with total proceeds of £3.8m (2023: £3.1m).

Thwaites said the company got off to a strong start this financial year, with a fine period of weather early in the year helping the pubs and inns to post excellent early results. The summer was largely a washout but September and October were good months and Christmas held up to expectations, before wet weather took hold until spring.

It added the employment market “seems to have stabilised” and all sites are now fully staffed.

Turnover up at tenanted sites

Thwaites operates a freehold estate of tenanted pubs numbering about 200 and encompasses community locals to destination food-led pubs from Cumbria to the Midlands and from north Wales to Yorkshire.

“The turnover of our tenanted pubs increased year on year by 8%, with EBITDA and operating profit increasing by 4%,” Thwaites said. “The pub market continues to be a very challenging environment in which to trade.”

Beer volumes increased by 1% year on year with wines and spirits down by 2% and soft drinks 1% ahead. Tenanted pub sales increased by 5% and gross margin fell by 0.4%, as we chose to support pubs through discounts.

A busy year of investment into its tenanted pubs saw six major schemes and a further 44 schemes of up to £100,000 with transformational schemes delivered at the Duke, Blackpool; the Buck, Clitheroe; and the Victoria and the Grey Horse, both in Accrington.

Thwaites launched a new pale ale in keg – Paradise No.3 4.3% ABV – with initial feedback being “most encouraging”.

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