M&B nets £46m from sale of 79 sites that don’t fit with strategy

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Mitchells & Butlers has raised £46m from offloading 79 sites in the last few months, it revealed this morning.

The pub and restaurant chain sold 73 of the properties to property investment company Aprirose in a package deal and it will now run them under the Milton Pubs and Taverns brand. A further six sites were sold individually.

M&B said none of the 79 sites fitted its long-term estate plan and added that the proceeds from the disposals were “marginally above” the net book value of the properties.

Details of the disposals come as the business updated the market on trading for the year to 16 September 2017.

Following a strong sales performance in early summer, it said the market has been more challenging in recent weeks, particularly given poor weather this year up against a sunny period last year which has specifically impacted drink sales. Total sales are up 3% in the year-to-date, however, which M&B said was ahead of the market.

It warned that margins for the full year will be below last year due to inflationary cost pressures and revealed that it has opened 13 new sites and completed 236 conversions and remodels in the financial year to date.

Phil Urban, chief executive at M&B, said: “Whilst the weather in August and September has adversely affected the market, we remain encouraged that our like-for-like sales performance continues to outperform the market. This performance reflects the progress we have made towards our strategic priorities. We continue to work hard to mitigate the cost headwinds faced by the industry and expect to deliver a full-year performance in line with the board’s expectations.

“We will enter the new financial year with the momentum of solid sales growth, enhanced clarity on pension contributions and a clear strategy which we believe positions the company well to deliver long term shareholder value.”

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