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Strong Operating Profit Performance by Charles Wells

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Strong Operating Profit Performance by Charles Wells

Strong Operating Profit Performance by Charles Wells
January 06
10:19 2015

UK regional brewer and pub operator Charles Wells has announced its annual results for the financial year to 27th September 2014, incorporating the performance of Wells & Young’s Brewing Company, Charles Wells Pub Company and John Bull Pub Company. Sales income rose by £5 million to £187 million with profit after tax of £7.7 million – up 24% from £6.2 million the previous year. EBITDA was up 6% to £14.7 million.

Sales of own beers have been growing steadily as the heightened consumer interest in craft beer stimulated the beer market. The introduction of several new beers to match this demand, including Charles Wells DNA and Young’s London Stout, has proved successful at home and abroad. The strategy of seeking growth in international markets continues apace and at the end of the financial year, these markets represented 17% of the brewery’s output. The wine company, Cockburn & Campbell, enjoyed its third consecutive year of growth with sales up 16%.

Whilst no new pubs were acquired in the UK during the year there has been an ongoing commitment to invest strongly in the estate, with more than £2.4 million being spent on the leased and tenanted estate, an average of £12,000 per pub. 2014 also saw Charles Wells return to managed houses in the UK with £1.5 million being invested in the first Apostrophe Pub, the d’Parys in Bedford. A continued focus on improving the long term sustainability of the pub estate saw five smaller and unviable sites being sold, generating £1.1 million of sales proceeds.

The John Bull managed house operations in France performed strongly despite the weakening economic conditions in Europe. With nine sites operating throughout the year focus has been on identifying future sites for expansion within France. A tenth site opened in Bordeaux in September and an 11th site has also been identified for early 2015.

Debt levels of the group are in line with expectations with the £6 million increase in borrowings reflecting the final £5 million payment to Young’s for the purchase of their 40% share in Wells & Young’s and the return to UK managed houses.

Paul Wells, chairman of Charles Wells, comments: “Our performance this year has been in line with expectations and we have invested for the future through investment in the brewery as well as the pub estates in the UK and France. Our international sales and pub operations have demonstrated that growth is possible at home and overseas, despite the difficulties of the global economy and our wine company has also delivered excellent growth. Consumer tastes continue to develop and therefore innovative new products along with quality pub sites that consumers wish to frequent is essential.

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