I would like to say how much I enjoy the e-mails from Langton Capital on a daily basis. I use the newsletter as an ideal way of keeping me up to date with what is going on financially in the drinks industry.
Tenanted pub company
Wagamama, Vapiano, Shearings, Facebook & other:
A DAY IN THE LIFE:
Still beset by computer problems. Gone are the days when I could pick the phone up to IT. On to the news:
PUB, RESTAURANT & DRINK PRODUCERS:
⦁ Research for the Grocer shows that the number of Brits looking to reduce their alcohol intake has surged in the past year, with 41% of respondents saying they’re actively trying to drink less. This compares to 33% of respondents the previous year. ‘It seems media messages around ill health linked to excessive alcohol consumption are cutting through,’ says Lucia Juliano, head of research at Harris Interactive, which polled 1,004 shoppers, although consumers are increasingly likely to pay more for quality.
⦁ Wagamama’s turnover grew by 15.8% to £266.1m in the year to 23 April 2017, with an 8.2% rise in LfL sales across its UK estate. The group’s expansion continues with 10 new sites, increasing adjusted EBITDA by 17.6% to £45.5m for the year, leading to a pre-tax profit of £9.2m.
⦁ The prolific American investor, Dan Loeb, has bought $3.5bn worth of shares in Nestle, making it the biggest bet he has placed in 20 years. This move has sent Nestle shares to a record high, climbing 4.7% to £69.29.
⦁ Trade bodies welcome news that government proposes allowing EU citizens to remain in the UK. BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds comments 'I welcome that the Government has now set out proposals that make clear that staff in our industry can remain in the UK after Brexit...for all our members, they are essential and highly valued colleagues who deserve certainly over their future in the UK.”
⦁ ALMR CEO Kate Nicholls says 'pub, restaurant, club and coffee shop operators will be relieved that the detail provided today lives up to the positive signals that the Prime Minister gave in Brussels last week.' She adds 'our reliance on non-UK labour to augment the thousands of jobs already filled by Britons is key to the ability to operate and to grow.'
⦁ ALMR says the 'Government is back in its stride'.
⦁ Heineken has offered to sell a number of pubs in order to address competition concerns
⦁ A London Docklands tower is set to house the highest restaurant in Europe. UK leisure property agency, Shelley Sandzer, has been hired to find a tenant for the rooftop of Arena Tower, Baltimore Wharf, an iconic landmark just 10 minutes’ walk from Canary Wharf.
⦁ A pro-smoking campaign group has called on the Government to review the impact the smoking ban has had on pubs, and to ‘consider alternatives to the policy’.
⦁ The British Beer and Pub Association has released ‘The Beer and Pub Story 2017’ leaflet, which sets out why beer and pubs are integral to the UK economy, in association with The Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Hospitality Ulster.
⦁ The BBPA appreciates the certainty that should be provided by the Government’s ‘confidence and supply’ deal. Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, said: ‘What UK business needs is more certainty, and today’s deal should mean that the Government has a working majority in Parliament as the Brexit negotiations proceed. On the specifics of what has been agreed, it is positive for pubs that the Government has agreed to review the impact of VAT on tourism in Northern Ireland (as well as Air Passenger Duty), but it is important to stress that whilst this has a big impact in Northern Ireland, high rates of VAT on hospitality is very much a UK-wide issue, so we will be looking closely at what emerges.’
⦁ A £160m debt refinancing has been completed by Nisa ahead of a potential takeover by Sainsbury’s. The new debt package will help the company reach targets of £2bn revenues by 2019 and will be jointly provided by HSBC and Wells Fargo.
⦁ Coca-Cola has invested £39m in new automating technology in its Sidcup storage facility.
HOLIDAYS, LEISURE TRAVEL & HOTEL:
⦁ Shearing has announced that it will create worldwide coach tours in 2018, including the US, Canada, Australia, South Africa, India and Vietnam. The marketing director of Shearings, Steve Seddon, said ‘We knew our customers were going on long-haul journeys, but they were going with other operators because we didn’t offer it’.
⦁ The US Supreme Court has ruled to allow President Donald Trump’s temporary bans on travellers from six Muslim-majority countries and all refugees to go into effect for people with no connection to the United States while agreeing to hear his appeals in the closely watched legal fight.
⦁ Broader guest appeal and demand that continues to slightly outpace supply continue to make the extended-stay segment attractive to U.S. hotel developers, according to Hotel News Now.
⦁ Trading Standards have raided the UK Europcar HQ as part of an investigation into overcharging for repairs. The car hire firm said in a statement: ‘Europcar takes the allegations very seriously and is conducting a thorough internal investigation.’
⦁ Minoan Group now has the outline of planning consent for a €250m resort in Crete, which it wants to develop through joint ventures and partnerships.
⦁ The government is being urged to demonstrate commitment to the expansion of Heathrow, as concerns that the project will fall foul of political instability rise. The chairman of Britain’s National Infrastructure Commission, Andrew Adonis, has said ‘In the context of Brexit and a minority government, proceeding with Heathrow is absolutely critical to show that Britain is open for business’.
⦁ Sportech have announced that the sale of its Football Pools business to OpCapita LLP has concluded.
⦁ Facebook is looking to cash in on the lucrative market for digital video advertising by producing television shows to rival those on Netflix and Amazon Prime. The technology group will spend as much as $3m per episode to produce high-end shows for its near-two billion users worldwide in order to tap into the growing digital video advertising market, which is expected to be worth about £6.3bn this year.
FINANCE & MARKETS:
⦁ British Bankers' Association reports personal debt grew at an annual rate of 5.1% in May. Whilst down on the 6.4% registered in April, this remains substantially ahead of inflation and c2x the rate of wage growth.
⦁ BBA says mortgage approvals down in May
⦁ Oil up a shade at $45.98
⦁ Sterling $1.2798 & Euro 1.1372
⦁ UK 10yr gilt down 1bp at 1.01%
⦁ Liam Fox says nothing has changed, Brexit means Brexit & HMG is getting on with the job.
⦁ Fox says there is no such thing as a soft Brexit & denies that the mood of the country has changed.
⦁ Magic Money tree apparently alive & well when it comes to doing political deals. Less evident elsewhere
⦁ Recent comments:
⦁ I'm a Remainer. Ms May 2016.
⦁ Brexit means Brexit.
⦁ There will be no early General Election.
⦁ We will strengthen our hand.
⦁ Nothing has changed.
⦁ We're getting on with the job.
⦁ There is no magic money tree
YESTERDAY'S LATER TWEETS:
⦁ Money Tree makes surprise Tory appearance as Ms May uses £1.5bn of our money to pay DUP to keep her in power
⦁ Business confidence on the up per Lloyds as Andrea Leadsom tells journalists & others to be more optimistic
RETAIL NEWS WITH NICK BUBB:
⦁ Debenhams: Ahead of the Debenhams interims and strategic review back on April 20th the share price was trading around the 55p level and it closed last night at only just over the 44p mark, so it’s fair to say that the City was not expecting a lot of good news today in the much-awaited trading update for Q3 (the 15 weeks to 17 June)…But the news isn’t too bad and although LFL sales in constant currency were down by 2.4%, “our targeted destination categories of Beauty, Accessories and Food & Drink have helped to mitigate the impact of a weaker clothing market”. And, thanks to a bit of self-help on cost-cutting and margin control, Debs guide that 2017 profit before tax will be within the range of market expectations, although there is a caveat that “should current market volatility continue, the outcome could be towards the lower end of the current range”. CEO Sergio Bucher says “As industry data has confirmed, May was a tough month for retailers and we continue to see volatility in trading week to week. As a result we are focused on delivering cost control and self-help through our "Fix the Basics" plan”. There is a conf call for analysts at 8.30am.
⦁ Carpetright: After the recent DFS warning you wouldn’t have wanted to bet against Carpetright CEO Wilf Walsh having to follow suit in the outlook statement with today’s finals for y/e April, but the news is surprisingly good… Underlying profit before tax of £14.4m (down from £18.3m) was in line with market expectations and the core UK business saw a “significant improvement in performance in the second half - re-establishing trading momentum after a difficult first six months”, with LFL sales in the second half increasing by 1.8%. And there is an update on current trading, with talk of an “encouraging start made to the new financial year despite continued economic uncertainty”: UK LFL sales grew by 2.0% for the seven weeks to 17 June, underpinned by the improving performance of the refurbished UK store portfolio. Wilf Walsh says “While a challenging consumer environment and competitive landscape remain headwinds, we are confident the additional potential in our self-help initiatives will support an increase in market share". The analyst meeting is at 8.45am.
⦁ Dixons Carphone: Ahead of tomorrow’s finals (for y/e April), the hard-working IR team at Dixons Carphone has circulated the following City consensus for divisional profits (excluding the share of losses from the discontinued Sprint joint venture in the US): UK £383m, Nordics £91m, Southern Europe £23m, CWS £20m, interest -£19m, Adjusted PBT £498m.
⦁ News Flow This Week: The latest Kantar/Nielsen grocery market share data is out at 8am today. Tomorrow brings the Dixons Carphone finals, with the JD Sports AGM update on Thursday. And with the end of the month fast approaching, we also get the CBI Distributive Trades survey for “June” later this morning, whilst the widely-followed monthly GFK Consumer Confidence survey is out first thing on Friday.