Fuller’s withdraws guidance after government closes pubs
Alice Hancock, Leisure Industries Correspondent, reports:
Fuller’s, the UK-based pub company, has withdrawn its financial forecast and is considering cutting its dividend after the government enforced the closure of all bars, pubs and restaurants on Friday.
In a statement on Monday, the company said that it had a strong cash position but that it would take pre-emptive action to mitigate all costs including delaying capital expenditure. It added that it would “carefully considering” its dividend policy and could not provide guidance as to the financial impact of the virus outbreak.
The company runs almost 400 pubs across London and the south, 89 per cent of which are freehold.
Prior to the government’s decision to close pubs last week, Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, told the Financial Times that shutting the pubs would have a significant knock-on impact to staff and ancillary businesses. He said:
Fullers employs around 6,000 people. We sell a lot of food so our suppliers will be in financial difficulty. Contractors responsible for planting, cleaning, refurbishment, they are all going to be under enormous financial difficulty. It’s the wider ecosystem around the hospitality industry.
Many hospitality and pub company owners have said that as well as providing employee support, the government must mandate a moratorium on rent payments if their businesses are to survive beyond the end of this month.
Also on Monday, AG Barr, the producer of IrnBru, said that in line with Financial Conduct Authority guidance it was delaying publication of its full year results and had drawn down the full extent of a £60m revolving credit facility.
Fulham Shore, the owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek, said it was in the “unhappy position” of having to reduce all costs including property and staff. It added that it would keep a number of its restaurants open for takeaway.