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22/09/1999

Bass PLC today (22 September 1999) issued a trading statement covering the first 48 weeks of the yea

Bass PLC today (22 September 1999) issued a trading statement covering the first 48 weeks of the year.

Sir Ian Prosser, Chairman, commented: "I am pleased to report that we are continuing to see a good level of performance across all our businesses, with trading in line with expectations. Our success reflects a consistent strategic focus on building strong brands in selected consumer markets".

"We are pleased to have reached agreement with Punch Taverns Group Limited to acquire 550 of the most attractive of Allied Domecq's managed pubs for 79 million new Bass shares and £179 million in cash. We will manage these pubs from early October."

Hotels & Resorts

Inter-Continental continues to perform well with RevPAR growth across the brand of 4.6 per cent. RevPAR in the owned and leased estate has grown 5.0 per cent in North America and 6.7 per cent in Europe. In June we extended Inter-Continental's presence in New York by acquiring a hotel on Central Park South for $62.5 million. We are commencing the programme of major refurbishments in the owned and leased estate.

In North America Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza continue to out-perform the market by a significant margin, having grown RevPAR by 5.4 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively. This has been achieved through continuing quality improvement despite a slowdown in the rate of growth by the market overall. Holiday Inn Express has grown RevPAR by 7.4 per cent and continues to grow distribution.

We now have 2,109 mid scale hotels in the Americas, with 301,475 rooms, compared to 2,032 hotels and 300,237 rooms a year ago.

In EMEA, where we have 454 hotels, growth continues, but at a lower rate than in the first half due to a weaker market in the UK. RevPAR in the owned and leased estate has grown 1.4 per cent for Holiday Inn and 4.3 per cent for Crowne Plaza.

Leisure Retail

Total sales for the period are 5.4 per cent up on last year, despite the impact of the pubs sold to Enterprise Inns. Within this, total drink sales are up 2.4 per cent and food sales are 9.6 per cent ahead.

Bass Leisure Retail is performing well as it sees the benefit of its long term repositioning to increase the proportion of larger, more profitable, pubs within the estate. Like for like sales for those pubs which remain uninvested are 2.1 per cent down. These declines are concentrated in smaller outlets taking less than Bass Leisure Retail's average of £11k per week.

Our branded outlets and city centre pubs continue to show the best relative performance, with Vintage Inns and Edwards having performed particularly well in the year to date with like for like sales up 7.6 per cent and 3.8 per cent respectively.

In the year to date BLR has added 82 new outlets. Returns on investment in acquisitions and conversions remain high, in line with our established track record. This, combined with our significant advances in retail staff productivity and overhead cost reductions, underpins our confidence in the value to be created from the former Allied Domecq pubs that we are in the process of acquiring.

Branded Drinks - Brewers

Bass Brewers has performed well with beer volumes up half a per cent in a market that has declined by over 2.5 per cent, representing another gain in market share for Bass Brewers. This has been driven by gains in the Off-trade. Overall margins have been held in the On-trade but are down in the Off-trade.

Our drive brands continue to show good progress with Carling having grown volume 9.6 per cent in the period, making it the first British beer brand to sell over one billion pints in a year. Worthington has grown at 9.3 per cent and Grolsch at 29.4 per cent.

The international businesses have also made good progress, and are expected to increase their profit contribution this year.

Branded Drinks - Britvic

Britvic has benefited from the good weather in June and July as well as an excellent performance from Robinsons. As a result volumes are 1 per cent up and profits are well ahead of the corresponding period last year.

The purchase by Bass of Allied Domecq's 25 per cent stake in Britannia Soft Drinks Limited for £75 million will not now proceed.

Valuation

We have commissioned independent valuers to conduct a full valuation of the Group's property assets. Preliminary results show a surplus to the carrying value in the 1998 accounts.

--ends--

For further information please contact:

Richard North, Finance Director   0171 409 1919
Jonathan Atack, Investor Relations   0171 409 8153
Mark Rigby, Media Relations   0171 409 8571

Appendix - US Hotels Performance 3rd Quarter

US Hotels Performance 3rd Quarter* Bass Hotels & Resorts: Fiscal Year 98/99 U.S. Results

  3rd Quarter
Apr 99 - Jun 99
YTD, F/Y 99
Oct 98 - Jun 99
Occupancy % C/Y % Pts +/- P/Y C/Y % Pts +/- P/Y
Holiday Inn 69.2 -0.4 63.5 0.2
Holiday Inn Express 68.8 0.6 62.1 1.7
Crowne Plaza 71.4 -1.2 68.2 -0.8
 
Ave Rate $ $ C/Y % Growth C/Y % Growth
Holiday Inn 77.34 4.8 74.99 5.0
Holiday Inn Express 66.37 5.6 64.00 5.6
Crowne Plaza 108.43 3.8 107.53 5.6
 
RevPAR $ $ C/Y % Growth C/Y % Growth
Holiday Inn 53.50 4.1 47.61 5.2
Holiday Inn Express 45.68 6.8 39.75 7.4
Crowne Plaza 77.44 2.1 73.30 4.7
  YTD, CY 99
Jan 99 - Jun 99
Occupancy % C/Y % Pts +/- P/Y
Holiday Inn 65.4 -0.1
Holiday Inn Express 64.2 1.2
Crowne Plaza 69.2 -0.6
 
Ave Rate $ $ C/Y % Growth
Holiday Inn 76.12 4.8
Holiday Inn Express 64.96 5.6
Crowne Plaza 107.51 4.4
 
RevPAR $ $ C/Y % Growth
Holiday Inn 49.81 4.7
Holiday Inn Express 41.72 7.6
Crowne Plaza 74.41 3.6

System Size as of 30th June 1999

  Hotels % Growth
Holiday Inn 1,105 -4.9
Holiday Inn Express 844 16.1
Crowne Plaza 64 8.5
 
  Rooms % Growth
Holiday Inn 212,846 -4.5
Holiday Inn Express 66,025 14.1
Crowne Plaza 20,544 4.8

*Based on returns submitted by franchisees up to the date of this announcement.

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