J T Davies & Sons, the parent company for Henley-based pub operator and brewer Brakspear, increased turnover for the year ending 31 December 2015 by almost 13%, to £22.4 million. Operating profit increased by 19% to £6.9m, and profit before tax and exceptional items was up by 26% to £5.3m.
Growth came primarily from the company’s expanding managed house division, where turnover increased by £2.1m to £5.7m, as well as from a 2% uplift in turnover from the tenanted and leased estate.
Brakspear continued to invest in its managed estate during 2015 with the acquisition of the George Hotel, Shipston-on-Stour and Church Street Townhouse, Stratford-upon-Avon. In addition, the Pocket Watch, Shepherds Bush transferred from the tenanted estate following a significant refurbishment. The managed estate, founded in March 2013, now stands at eight sites, following the purchase of the Grapevine, Stow on the Wold – since renamed the Sheep on Sheep Street – in January 2016.
Within the tenanted and leased estate, Brakspear bought one pub in 2015 – the Frogmill Inn near Cheltenham – and sold two as part of its pub disposal programme, fewer than in 2014 as the programme nears its end.
Brakspear invested a total of £7.4m in its pub estate during 2015, including the managed house acquisitions and developments. Within the tenanted estate, Brakspear’s in-house property and design team has helped tenants to achieve maximum impact from refurbishments and developments. Some of the larger investments included the construction of a five-bedroom letting block at the Five Alls at Filkins, an award winning pub in the Cotswolds, and a redesign of the trading area at the Hollybush in Redbourn, Hertfordshire.
The company’s workforce has expanded to support the growing business, with a total of 221 people employed across its head office and managed pubs.
Chief executive Tom Davies said, “2015 really was a fantastic year for Brakspear. Investment in the managed division’s people and infrastructure enabled us to make a big step forward with this side of our business, adding two sites, each with rooms, and transferring across a previously tenanted site.
“At the same time, we continued to see a step change in the quality of our tenanted and leased pubs and the operators who make them successful, as a result of our investment in design, marketing, training and tenant recruitment over recent years.
“Our results for 2015 demonstrate that considered investment in acquisitions and pub development and refurbishment benefits the Brakspear business as a whole, as we have been able to strengthen our position to grow both our tenanted and managed estates. We will continue to invest in our pubs, our people and our operators to ensure that we maintain this success.”