Mitchells & Butlers rules out a dividend
MITCHELLS & Butlers (M&B), the UK pub group in which JP McManus and John Magnier control a combined 17.6pc stake, reported a solid performance for the financial year ended in September.
Nevertheless, its shares fell after £205m (€242m) in exceptional items pushed it into the red and the company ruled out paying a dividend.
Releasing its results yesterday, M&B said that operating profit rose 7.3pc to £322m in the period, while turnover climbed 1.1pc to £1.98bn.
Pre-tax profit at the group was 26.1pc higher at £169m as its lower debt levels reduced repayments.
Chief executive Adam Fowle said that the company had delivered a "very good set of results in challenging economic conditions" -- but he warned the company was not committing to a dividend at the end of 2011.
Mr Fowle added that its strategy to transform the chain into a food-led business was proving effective, with like-for-like food sales at its outlets having grown 7pc in the first eight weeks of the current financial year.
M&B operates 1,600 outlets around Britain. It offloaded 333 non-core pubs during the summer for £373m as it exercised its strategy of withdrawing from the lower-drinks led market in late-night high-street bars and venues. Food now comprises 47pc of M&B sales.
The company has emerged from a fractious period that led to a major boardroom bust-up. Superquinn chairman Simon Burke was among those who were subsequently drafted in as a non-executive director.
Shares in M&B closed down 2.6pc in London at £3.44.