Marston's lifts H1 profit, makes acquisitions

Marston's has posted a 61% rise in its statutory H1 pretax profit to £36.7m, although on an underlying basis it was up 3% to £33.7m, as it agreed to acquire the Charles Wells brewing business.

The acquisition was from the Charles Wells Group for a cash consideration of £55m, plus working capital adjustments.

"It is a high quality brewing business offering us opportunities to extend our trading area in the South of England and Scotland, and brings a range of well-known and popular brands into our portfolio," said CEO Ralph Findlay.

"We also aim to develop further our range of international licensed brands, and look forward to working with our new overseas partners, including Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Kirin," he added.

Marston's also announces an agreement to acquire seven pubs in strong locations to enhance its Destination and Premium estate for a consideration of £13m with a refurbishment investment of £3m, representing 7.8x post investment EBITDA.

Both deals were expected to complete in June, and it proposed a placing from which net proceeds would be used to fund the acquisition.

Marston's said its intention was to conduct a non-pre-emptive cash placing of about 57.6m new shares to institutional investors

"The price per ordinary share at which the placing shares are to be placed will be decided at the close of the bookbuild."

Returning to its results, Findlay said Marston's had been transformed over the last 10 years by the consistent implementation of our established strategy.

"In that time, we have built around 200 pubs on new sites representing 60% of the Destination estate today, and we have developed a leading premium pubs and bars business," he said.

"The Taverns estate has been repositioned, having sold around 1,000 pubs and introduced pioneering franchise-style agreements designed for community pubs.

"In Brewing, we lead the premium ale market and benefit from a growing contribution from craft beers and international licensed brands, including premium European lager brands.

"Our market position will be enhanced by the acquisition of Charles Wells Brewing and Beer Business and we remain confident our strategy will continue to create value for shareholders."