Ei Group Reports 2% Income Growth Following Strong Christmas Trading

EiThe UK’s largest owner/operator of pubs the Ei Group has reported that the financial year, the 18 weeks to 2 February, has started well for its leased and tenanted business with like-for-like net income growth of 2.0% in the 18 weeks to 2 February 2019

In a trading update, the pub company (Formerly Enterprise Inns) said leased and tenanted business had seen a 2% uptick in revenue after a strong Christmas trading period.

The group’s managed estate like-for-like sales grew by 5.7% in the same period.

Simon Townsend, chief executive, said: “The year has started well, with growth being maintained across our operating businesses and, despite the ongoing uncertainty regarding the consumer environment, we are on track to deliver our plans for the year. The proposed disposal of a substantial proportion of our commercial property portfolio is in line with our strategy of unlocking the embedded value from every asset within our business and monetising that value creation for the benefit of all stakeholders.“

The group also said it had continued to convert selected pubs from its leased and tenanted business to the managed estate, which rose to 398 pubs from 355 at the end of September, adding that by 30 September 2019 it expected to have 460 managed pubs trading.

The company also said an agreement to dispose of 370 properties in a £348mln deal with Tavern Propco Limited, previously announced in January, would be voted on by shareholders at the AGM.

A share buyback programme that has seen Ei return £20m to shareholders was completed on 22 January 2019.