Belhaven owner Greene King has said that the start of the last financial year was ‘impacted by the poor weather,’ meaning that things got off to a shaky start in the first eight weeks of trading. In its preliminary results for the 52 weeks to 28 April 2019, revenue was up 1.8% from £2,176.7m to £2,216.9m, but operating profit was down 1.3% from £373.1m to £368.2m on last year.
In Greene King’s managed estate, Greene King Pub Partners, revenue rose 1.8% to £1.8bn. A 2.9% rise in like-for-like sales offset a 2.5% drop in the number of pubs open. With costs increasing in line with this, operating profits also rose 1.8%, to £272.9m.
While 11 pubs were transferred from Pub Company to the tenanted and leased Pub Partners business and the acquisition of another site, the number of pubs within Greene King Pub Partners fell 5% as the group sold off 70 pubs. Revenues dropped 2% as a result, and with rising costs, underlying operating profits fell 4.7% to £87.1m.
Brewing & Brands revenue rose 5.8% to £227.6m. Total beer volumes rose 0.9%, thanks, say the company, to the subsequent good weather and the World Cup. However, higher costs and a reduced contribution from Greene King’s own brands saw operating profit fall 10.7% to £27.4m.
Said chief executive Nick Mackenzie, “The business delivered good results last year, regaining trading momentum in Pub Company and returning to market outperformance while fulfilling a strong cost mitigation programme and making further progress refinancing the Spirit debenture. The existing strategy we have in place has led the business through challenging times. I am looking forward to building on Greene King’s strong foundations with a focus on innovation, on developing our people and on customer service to further enhance our brands and deliver sustainable growth for our shareholders.”