Greene King bullish as it waits on CMA verdict

Greene King chef

Pub operator Greene King said today that it was looking forward to pressing ahead with its acquisition of rival Spirit after revealing modest sales growth over the past year.

Rooney Anand, CEO, said the group was moving closer to the takeover, with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) set to announce its decision next week.

“The scheme of arrangement is expected to become effective during the first half of 2015, which will enable us to commence the integration process,” he said. “The acquisition of Spirit will create the UK’s leading managed pub operator, accelerate our retail expansion strategy and deliver significant synergy opportunities and scale benefits for both sets of shareholders.”

Greene King today announced a trading update for the 51 weeks to 26 April 2015 in which it revealed that like-for-like sales rose 0.4% during that period.

“We once again traded well over key events, such as Valentine’s Day and Easter, as customers celebrated and enjoyed these occasions in our pubs,” said Anand. “The second half of this financial year, however, has been tougher than the first half, with more difficult comparatives to last year and the additional impact of new drink driving legislation in Scotland.”

Although Easter was much earlier than last year, Greene King achieved record sales and like-for-like salesgrew 2.4%. In total, it served more than 800,000 diners during the weekend.

It also achieved record sales of £4m on Valentine’s Day with Prosecco volume up over 150% on last year and 3,600 oysters sold in Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill.

The strongest performing brands or formats in the year were Metropolitan, its premium local format, which it said “strongly outperformed” the London market, Farmhouse Inns, its growing carvery brand, and Old English Inns, which delivered strong sales growth. Greene King operates around 1,900 pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK.

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