J T Davies & Sons, the parent company for Henley-based pub operator and brewer Brakspear, increased its turnover during the year ending 29 December 2019 by 11%, to £35.3m which generated record EBITDA before exceptional items of £10.0m up 15% on the prior year. Profit Before Tax was £6.4m up 18% on the prior year.
Sales growth was driven by the managed house division, now consisting of 15 pubs, restaurants and inns. Like for like performance was up 2%, two site acquisitions generated an additional £2.0m and another £1.5m from the full year growth effect from the Frogmill, near Cheltenham.
The consistent tenanted and leased estate saw a 1% reduction in turnover as a result of one site transferring to the managed house division and the sale of another site.
The improved EBITDA is a result of higher managed house sales supported by improved management, efficiency and productivity across the managed house estate.
Chief executive Tom Davies said, “I am extremely pleased with our performance for 2019 and proud of the business for delivering a much better level of profitability on growing sales. Our core tenanted and leased business continues to trade consistently well. I believe we have some of the best pubs and operators in the country.”
During the year Brakspear added three new sites to its growing managed estate. The Nags Head, Abingdon was purchased in June and the Golden Ball, Maidenhead was acquired toward the end of the year. The Crown, nr Reading was transferred from the tenanted and leased estate. Davies said “Our managed estate is developing well and we are especially pleased with the Nags Head which sits on its own island on the River Thames. We have been able to integrate these new sites efficiently and all three have contributed positively during the year.”
Brakspear invested a total of £7.5m enhancing its pub estate during 2019 through acquisition and refurbishment.
Davies added “We continue to acquire pubs and invest in our existing estate ensuring the continuing high quality of our tenanted pubs, and to ensure our managed pubs exceed our customers’ high expectations.
Since the year end Brakspear has had its high points, and like most of the hospitality industry, its low points. 2020 started well with encouraging levels of trade during the first three months and the acquisition of the Egypt Mill, a 28 bedroom venue occupying a riverside location in Nailsworth, Glos.
The Covid-19 pandemic and associated Government response caused significant disruption for Brakspear. All tenanted, leased and managed pubs, restaurants and inns were closed from 23rd March to the beginning of July. Tom Davies commented “2020 has delivered an unexpected set of challenges which the business addresses daily, ensuring that our 241 year old company will be in a good position to enter year number 242. I would like to thank and congratulate all of our pub partners and operators, alongside all of our 325 Brakspear team members for meeting and exceeding these challenges.”