Langton Capital – 2019-08-01 – Ryanair, Merlin, MatchPint & other:
Just Eat, M&B, Greggs, Puttshack, & Other
A DAY IN THE LIFE:
Advice to self. Plan A when on holiday. Avoid becoming a sweaty, bad-tempered, hungover mess with sunstroke. Get that right and most other things will fall into place.
Also, never annoy a barmaid carrying four litres of beer in each hand, don’t try to out-sing a bunch of beered-up Germans, don’t set beer garden selfies as your home screen, beware texting after drink number four etc.
But no permanent harm has been done, life goes on and yesterday featured a hop-on, hop-off bus tour of Munich alongside a bit of potted history, plenty of coffee, the odd iced cream and only modest amounts of beer.
And we can confirm that Munich is a great town. Well, city really, as it’s 1.5m with c6m in the district and the infrastructure to match. Really pleasant.
Anyway, as mentioned, elements of Langton are on holiday this week and next. Wir hatten Spass in Muenchen und morgen fahren wir nach Vienna via Saltzburg. The email could be a little bit shorter than usual. On to the news:
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GENERAL NEWS – PUBS & RESTAURANTS:
Budweiser partners with MatchPint to create the Budweiser Premier Predictor, where fans predict the results of all televised matches over a weekend, with one correct prediction each round being rewarded with a Budweiser. The reward is redeemable in more than 2,000 participating venues in the UK & Ireland.
Project Iced UK 2019 reports sales of iced beverages up 14.3% in 2018 to £395m, representing 5.8% of the UK specialist coffee shop segment’s £6.8bn sales revenue.
Amazon has stated that it will make its Premier League 2019-20 fixtures available to pubs and clubs via the ‘Amazon Premier League pass’.
The Cheesecake Factory acquires Fox Restaurant Concepts for $353m, as well as acquiring the remaining interest in North Italia from Fox. David Overton, Cheesecake Factory’s chairman and CEO, said ‘It became evident that the combination of two of the most experiential and entrepreneurial restaurant companies could drive greater value as one organization.’
The MCA has reported that Barons Pub Company is planning a further 15 site acquisitions following the group recent double purchase of two pubs in Surrey.
Research from the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) has found that 75% of bar staff are struggling to pay household bills, with 24% stating they had money worries.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and night-time economy adviser, Sacha Lord, have announced plans to make Mancester a ‘truly 24-hour’ city in 8 months time.
BBPA airs episode 2 of The Beer & Pubcast, exploring the leased & tenanted model and the Pubs Code review.
HOLIDAYS & LEISURE TRAVEL:
The Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary, has warned that the firm will have to cut jobs in the coming weeks, stating that the airline has 1,500 too many pilot and cabin crew. It comes after the airline said it would cut flights next summer over the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max fleet.
Lufthansa reports Q2 profits down 25% to €754m, with the decline attributed to a price war in Europe – particularly on short-haul routes in Europe from Germany and Austria. CFO Ulrik Svensson said ‘We are responding to this by further reducing our costs and increasing our flexibility.’
On the Beach reports summer holidays in many popular European beach resorts in August are cheaper than in UK seaside staycations. European holidays are better value in seven out of ten cases, the study claimed, with the high price of trains and hotels in the UK making a one week staycation much more expensive.
British Airways’ appeal to halt planned strike action by its pilots has been overturned by the High Court. Balpa has not announced any strike dates today and is required by law to provide BA with 14 days’ notice of any proposed strike action.
Merlin reports H1 performance broadly in line with Board expectations, with revenue up 8.1% to £763m and underlying EBITDA up 1.4% to £191m. However, Merlin saw a 24.7% fall in underlying profit for the period to £25m.
Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin, said ‘After a number of years of headwinds, it is pleasing to see both Midway and Resort Theme Parks (RTP) returning to better levels of like for like revenue growth, with improved cash generation…Trading in LEGOLAND Parks has however been more disappointing. Although we enjoyed a strong Easter and Spring Break performance, trading since then has been affected by poor weather in May and June, difficult market conditions in a number of countries and limited momentum from ‘The LEGO Movie 2’.’
GVC Holdings has been fined £5.9m by the Gambling Commission after its Ladbrokes and Coral brands failed to put effective safeguards in place to ‘prevent consumers suffering gambling harm’. One customer lost £98,000 and had asked the company to stop sending promotions.
START THE DAY WITH A SONG:
Yesterday’s song was Fragile by Sting. Today, who sang:
“When my soul was in the lost and found,
You came along to claim it
I didn’t know just what was wrong with me”
RETAIL WITH NICK BUBB:
ScS: We weren’t expecting a year-end trading update from ScS, the Sunderland-based sofa and carpet retailer, until next week, but good news come early and the company has announced today that sales for the year to July 27th were up by a decent 4.2% LFL. As LFL sales for the first 33 weeks of the year were only up by 2.9%, the last 19 weeks must have been c7% up, albeit against weak comps and the company has said that the full-year results will be in line with expectations.
Sports Direct: We noted on Tuesday that Sports Direct bears would, contrarily, be encouraged by the fact that the new £30m share buyback programme started that day, as the company has been a singularly poor judge of its share price on the way down in recent months, but the share price was nearly 6% up yesterday, at 227p, despite Friday night’s results bombshell, so it’s not just the company that has been buying…