Punch have reported steady progress in its preliminary results for the 53 weeks to 23 August 2014. Its core pub estate, some 2925 pubs, showed like-for-like net income up 1.3% – the fifth consecutive quarter which has seen growth. Profit before tax was £69m (including £30 million of profits attributable to bond purchases in H1). New partner applications were up 20% on the prior year with spend on the core estate coming to £43m. In its non-core estate (884 pubs) the company reported that 116 pubs had transferred to the core estate and 285 had been sold (including 65 from the core estate). Net proceeds of the sales came to £111m. The company was also pleased to report that its “Capital restructuring successfully completed on 8 October 2014 delivering a £0.6 billion reduction in total net debt.”
Stephen Billingham, Executive Chairman of Punch Taverns plc, commented, “We have returned the core estate to like-for-like growth and delivered underlying profits for the year in line with guidance. We have also made a positive start to the new financial year with the core estate in like-for-like net income growth of 0.8% and have realised £43m of proceeds from the sale of non-core and gold-brick sites.”
He continued, “We believe that the capital restructuring completed last month creates a robust and sustainable debt structure, providing stability to the business that will lead to further deleveraging through strong cash generation. We can now focus on improving our business through investment in our pubs, attracting the best partners to work with us and providing industry leading support to our partners to launch and develop their pub businesses.”
Meanwhile its regional team in Scotland is embracing Movember. The eight strong crew are busy growing moustaches and so far have raised £2,000.