Shepherd Neame posts rises in LFL sales & eight-pub acquisition

Shepherd Neame, the Kent-based brewer, pub and hotel operator, has today published a trading update for the 49 weeks to 4 June 2016.

Like-for-like sales in managed houses were up by 4.6% and like-for-like EBITDAR in the tenanted estate for the 48 weeks to 28 May rose by 2.4%. Own beer volumes excluding contract were down by 0.7%.

The company has also announced that it has exchanged contracts for the purchase of eight freehold pubs in Kent, Sussex and Surrey from Enterprise Inns that are operated under lease.

Representatives from the company will be meeting with the licensees over the next few days to discuss transitional arrangements and future investment plans.

These assets are all high quality pubs in line with our strategy to acquire sites with unique character in landmark or high profile locations, to invest in them to drive footfall and to develop the offer to enhance the customer experience.

In a separate transaction, the company has reached an agreement for five of its pubs, in Canterbury and Faversham, currently operated under tenancy by the successful company UES Ltd, owned and managed by Dan Sidders and Gareth Finney, to transfer to its managed estate. Dan and Gareth will join the managed head office team to develop these and other pubs further.

Both these transactions are expected to complete within four weeks, and taken together, the company will invest £13.4m. Upon completion the total number of pubs will be 336, of which 59 will be operated under management and 270 as tenanted and leased and seven under commercial free of tie leases.

Chief Executive, Jonathan Neame said, 'We are delighted to end another successful year with these excellent opportunities to enhance the quality and profile of our pub estate and to bring new skills in to the team.

“We look forward to working with our new partners and see exciting investment opportunities to help build each of their businesses further.

“We also welcome Dan and Gareth to the team. We have long admired their impressive standards of service and imaginative and high quality food skills and greatly look forward to working with them in the future.'

Gareth Finney said, 'Dan and I have enjoyed a fantastic working relationship with Shepherd Neame as long standing tenants. We have benefited from investment, training and a broad range of support programmes to build a very successful business. We are excited to be joining the retail team.'