Ei Group has announced its interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2019.
Among the financial highlights is a growth in underlying EBITDA to £140m (H1 2018: £139m) and an underlying profit before tax increase to £59m (H1 2018: £57m).
Ei’s Publican Partnerships (tenanted pubs) saw like-for-like net income up 1.9% (H1 2018: up 0.6%), with growth across all geographic regions. The average annualised net income per pub is up 2.7% to £83,100 (H1 2018: £80,900).
Its managed division saw like-for-like sales growth of 6.0% (H1 2018: up 6.6%) across Ei’s largely wet-led managed house businesses. The Managed Operations growth is reportedly on track, with 357 (H1 2018: 276) pubs trading within its wholly-owned managed division. Its Managed Investments progressed with 62 pubs now trading with 11 specialist partners (H1 2018: 43).
“We are pleased with the trading performance of our Group for the first half of the year,” says Simon Townsend, CEO (pictured). “We continue to deliver sustained like-for-like net income growth within our core Publican Partnerships business and are generating strong returns as we expand our Managed Operations and Managed Investments businesses.
“Despite an environment of unprecedented political uncertainty and inflationary pressure from increases in the national minimum and living wage, consumers continue to support their local pub. This consumer resilience, combined with excellent operational execution and effective capital investment, provides us with the confidence that we can maintain our growth momentum for the year as a whole, despite some challenging comparative trading periods ahead of us in June and July.”
Ei Group has also completed the disposal of 348 commercial property assets for net proceeds of £332.7m, in line with the tangible net book value of the assets and representing a 13 times multiple of earnings.
“The completion of the disposal of 348 commercial properties in March represented a significant milestone for the Group,” adds Townsend. “We have demonstrated our ability to grow value through the transfer of assets to their optimum use and then to unlock that value through monetisation providing evidence of our strategy in action. We are using the significant cash proceeds received from the transaction to accelerate our debt reduction plans and to deliver value to our shareholders. We are pleased to announce today a further £30m share buyback programme, in addition to the £55m programmes previously announced in this financial year.”