T Davies & Sons the parent company of Henley-based pub operator Brakspear has bounced back positively from a second year of Covid-19 related disruption across their business.
Turnover for the financial year ended 26 December 2021 was £26.8m up 38% on the prior year [2020: £19.4m] and 24% down versus pre-covid 2019 [2019: £35.3m]. The business was able to generate EBITDA of £9.1m. This compares very favourably against the prior year up 111% [2021: £4.3m] and only 9% down versus the record year of 2019.
Tom Davies, CEO reflected on the year, “We will look upon 2021 as a year of two halves. The first was heavily impacted by the enforced closure of our pub estate for 15 weeks and the remainder of the period adversely influenced by a restricted operating environment. This was followed by a really positive second half of the year where record trading, driven by pent up demand and staycations, was complemented by Government support in the form of a VAT discount.”
EBITDA grew by 111% to £9.1m as the business enjoyed an extremely busy second six months to the year, whilst maintaining the cash and cost disciplines required during the Covid disruption.
Cash reserves of £11m was broadly unchanged compared to the prior year while debt was reduced by £10.7m effectively returning the borrowings from 2020.
The business restricted capital investment during the year while the uncertainties of Covid remained. Capital investment of £1.2m was offset through the sale of three non-core pubs to pub operators, and the sale of a parcel of land for residential development. Capital investment returned to normal levels in the first half of 2022 with the acquisition of Ghyll Manor (a pub, restaurant and events venue with 28 letting rooms) and the Royal Standard, Wandsworth. In addition, an extensive development of the Bull on Bell Street, Henley and a refurbishment of the George, Shipston on Stour, were completed as well as the significant re-landscaping of the Dew Drop in Hurley’s outdoor trading space. There has also been investment in the external appearance of several pubs in regards to painting and new signage.
Davies commented, “We demonstrated lots of resilience over the last two years and I am very satisfied with the robustness of our business. We have moved on from Covid and will continue to invest in our estate, despite the economic challenges currently affecting our industry. I am confident that we will face the challenges presented by staff shortages, inflation and especially energy costs with the same positive attitude that we have come to expect but do not take for granted, from our people.”