London brewer and pubs group Fuller, Smith and Turner served up a full measure in its full year results, with sales and profits both ahead of expectations.
Revenue in the 52 weeks ended March 31st rose 5% to £253.0m from £241.9m the year before, topping market expectations of £246.8m.
Adjusted profit before tax edged up 3% to £30.3m from £29.3m the previous year. The market had been expecting profit before tax of £29.9m. Reported profit before tax fell 7% to £28.8m from £31.0m the previous year, with the discrepancy between this figure and the adjusted profit figure being a £1.5m exceptional charge this time round, versus an exceptional credit of £1.7m the year before.
Subscribe to MoneyWeek
Subscribe to MoneyWeek today and get your first six magazine issues absolutely FREE
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was, like adjusted profit before tax, up 3%, to £47.8m from £46.6m the preceding year.
Adjusted earnings per share came in at 39.82p, up 7p% on the previous year's 37.36p and ahead of expectations of 38.24p.
Following capital expenditure of £75m during the reporting period, net debt rose by just under £50m to £138.2m from £88.5m a year earlier, meaning net debt stood at 2.7 times EBITDA at the end of the reporting period.
The Managed Pubs and Hotels estate saw like-for-like sales up 4.2% during the year, with total revenues up 6%. The Tenanted Inns portfolio saw like-for-like profits up 2%.
As for the group's brewing operations, own beer volumes rose 1% on a like-for-like basis, driven by strong growth in export markets.
"The elements that we can measure financially, accommodation, food and drinks, all showed strong like for like sales growth in this financial year up by 7.4%, 4.5% and 4.0% respectively," the company statement said.
Waxing lyrical and sounding a little like he might have partaken of a splash of his company's London Pride ale, Chairman Michael Turner said: "As the summer sun chases away the economic gloom, we now look ahead to what promises to be a historic time for the country. This coming weekend we have the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, followed by the European Football Championships and then the Olympic games. With our pub estate based in London and the South East and London Pride as our flagship beer, we aim to give our customers a wonderful summer to remember."
The board has recommended a final dividend of 7.60p for holders of the company's "A" and "C" shares, while holders of the "B" shares will have to make do with one-tenth of that, with a payment of 0.76p.
The final dividend represents an 8% increase on the previous year's payment and takes the full year pay-outs to 12.65p for the "A" and "C" shares and 1.265p for the "B" shares.
The full-year pay-outs are up 7% year-on-year. Investment analysts had pencilled in a figure of 11.95p for the "A" and "C" shares.
The company has a complicated share structure which essentially ensures that the business remains family-owned or, more accurately, families-owned (the families being Fuller, Smith and Turner, who have owned controlling stakes in the company since the nineteenth century).
King Charles banknotes to enter circulation in June
New banknotes featuring the King will enter circulation on 5 June – here’s what they will look like and what you need to know about your old notes.
By Katie Williams Published
Metro Bank to slash 5.22% savings rate for current customers- what’s the next best alternative?
Metro Bank is set to cut the rate on its best buy instant access saver for existing customers. Is there an alternative on the market and should you switch now?
By Vaishali Varu Published