Youngs sales almost treble as brewer and pub owner shakes off lockdown restrictions and restarts dividends
- Youngs’ six-month revenues rocket 183.9% on 2020 levels to £149.6m
- Pre-tax profits hit £22.2m having lost £22.2m at the same time last year
- Brewer’s board reinstates an interim dividend of 8.55p per share
Youngs has seen revenues rocket despite the forced closure of the British brewer’s pubs at the beginning of the period.
Revenues rose by 183.9 per cent on 2020 levels to £149.6million in the six months to 27 September. Meanwhile, the group saw pre-tax profits of £22.2million, having lost the same amount during the same period last year.
That enabled Youngs to reinstate an interim dividend of 8.55p per share.
In the 24 weeks since its sites reopened from Covid-19 restrictions on 12 April, revenues were just 1 per cent lower than 2019 levels, freeing up £5million to be paid out to investors.
Cheers: Youngs toasts return to profitability
Youngs said it benefited from a major capex programme in its pubs, hotels and outdoor areas, having invested £13.1million during the period.
The group also sold 56 tenanted businesses to Punch Pubs & Co. for a total cash consideration of £53million.
It said: ‘Our group strategy is now entirely focused on the development of well invested, premium managed pubs and hotels in the south of England.’
Net debt also fell significantly during the period from £203.8million to £140.3million.
Like many firms in its sector, Youngs was badly impacted by Covid-19 and lockdowns in the UK.
In November last year, Youngs described an ‘absolutely brutal’ trading period and revealed it had been forced to slash one fifth of its 5,000 staff.
While conditions have markedly improved for Youngs, the brewer acknowledged that ‘challenges remain in terms of consumer confidence’, while the business also faces well publicised supply chain and staffing issues.
It told investors it was ‘working constantly’ with suppliers on maintaining deliveries and ‘ensuring we have advance knowledge of any possible issues’.
Youngs shares have moved higher this year as trading conditions improved
Youngs shares were trading 2.1 per cent higher by late morning to 1,470p, bringing year-to-date performance to 20.1 per cent.
Chief executive Patrick Dardis said: ‘I am particularly pleased with the performance given restrictions were in place for a significant part of the period. This has helped us celebrate 190 years as a business in a position of strength.
‘Starting the period in lockdown, our focus was firmly on how we could safely welcome back as many customers as possible when restrictions eased. Getting back to the pub has been a feel-good factor for both our customers and employees, and we were pleased to see all our pubs and beer gardens full again from mid-July.
‘We have shown that our pubs are safe and attractive places, that we are ready to operate – and operate successfully – in both the challenging times, and in what we believe will be some very good times ahead.
‘Above all, we continue to work hard to look after our customers, their loyalty has never wavered. We are well-positioned for future growth.’