Belfast Telegraph

Fuller’s to hand shareholders £69m after brewery sale

Shares in the Chiswick-based business soared after it also said it was pleased by like-for-like sales growth in its pubs and hotels business.

Fuller’s said it will hand shareholders £69 million after the sale of its brewery arm for £250 million (PA)
Fuller’s said it will hand shareholders £69 million after the sale of its brewery arm for £250 million (PA)

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Pub group Fuller’s said it will dish out £69 million to shareholders after completing the £250 million sale of its brewery arm to Japan’s Asahi earlier this year.

The Chiswick-based business saw shares soar after it also said it was pleased by the performance of its pubs and hotels business following a “busy start to the year”.

Fuller’s frantic 2019 started with the announcement of the sale of its brewery business, which produces beers such as London Pride, to the Japanese brewing giant in January.

Following the move, the London-listed firm said it would hand cash back to shareholders as well as invest in its core pub business.

It hailed a “good start” to the financial year against tough comparatives from 2018, in an update ahead of the firm’s annual general meeting.

Like-for-like sales in the managed pubs and hotels division rose 2.5% for the 22 weeks to August 31, while like-for-like profits in its tenanted inns business slipped 2% lower.

Simon Emeny, chief executive, said the company is focused on driving the performance of its core business after the brewery disposal.

He added: “I am pleased to see our managed pubs and hotels showing like-for-like growth and, while our like-for-like profits in tenanted inns are down a little year on year, it is important to remember that the first half of last year included the halcyon period where sun and sport combined to create perfect pub-going conditions.

“I look forward to updating the City on our plans and progress in more detail at our half-year results presentation in November.”

The group also confirmed it had agreed to make a £24 million voluntary offer to its pension scheme on the back of the sale.

At its AGM in Chiswick, shareholders passed each of the company’s resolutions.

Before the meeting, the company also confirmed the resignation of non-executive director Peter Swinburn due to health issues.

Shares in Fuller, Smith and Turner jumped 9% to 1,210p on Wednesday afternoon.