Brewer raises a glass to quality as profits go above £100m

Marston’s profits have gone above £100m despite the pub sector suffering from rising costs and weaker consumer confidence.

Its underlying profits were up 3%, which it attributed to the contribution from new pubs and bars and the strong performance from its brewing division. Revenues went above £1bn after increasing by 8% in the year to September.

Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “We have achieved strong revenue growth and higher earnings, despite increasing employment and property costs.

“Our business has been transformed in recent years with a significant improvement in the quality of both our pub and beer businesses.”

However the Wolverhampton-based brewer’s share price is near a five-year low, and it has fallen 30% in the last six months. Last night’s closing price of 105p values the business at £660m.

The dividend has been increased at a similar rate to profits, up 2.7% to 7.5p.

Marston’s House, Wolverhampton

Marston’s believes it is well-positioned for growth in 2018, based on the sales growth it has seen in the first weeks of its financial year and its expectations from the continuing integration of the Charles Wells Beer Business.

Findlay added: “While political and economic uncertainty is likely to continue, we remain confident that our proposition founded on providing great customer experiences, the very best service and value for money, leaves Marston’s positioned to deliver further growth in the year ahead.”

Marston’s operates 1,568 pubs, of which just over half are traditional pubs. Its destination and premium sites, including Pitcher & Piano and Revere brands, account for nearly 400 pubs while the remainder are leased and operate with greater independence.