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20/05/2011

Half Year Results 2011

Mitchells & Bulters plc - Half year results (For the 28 weeks ended 9 April 2011)

Good progress with execution of strategy

Retained Estate1 highlights

The Retained Estate represents the continuing operations of the group following the major disposals completed over the last year and before exceptional items and other adjustments.

  • Sales up 4.2% with food sales up 7.5%
  • For the first time, food sales overtake drink sales
  • Operating profit in line with last year despite start-up costs from brand roll-out and the movement of Easter into H2
  • £53m of expansionary capital invested including 29 new openings and 31 conversions
  • 19% EBITDA returns achieved on expansionary capital invested in FY10 and FY11
  • Net debt reduced by nearly £400m; net debt:EBITDA now at 4.9x2
Retained Estate H1 2011
£m
H1 2010
£m
%
growth
Like-for-like sales growth of 3.3% in the first 33 weeks3
Like-for-like food and drink sales growth of 5.5% and 1.8% respectively in the first 33 weeks
Revenue 912 875 4.2
EBITDA1 194 192 1.0
Operating Profit1 136 136 -

Jeremy Blood, Interim Chief Executive, commented:

“Our growth strategy is on track and has delivered a strong trading performance with total sales up 4.2%. Harvester's performance has been particularly good, supported by its new advertising campaign together with its new breakfast and take-away menus. We have successfully positioned Mitchells & Butlers more firmly within the eating-out market with nearly three quarters of our revenue now generated around eating-out.

We have a healthy balance sheet and are investing for further growth with 50 new sites being opened this year from our brand roll-out. I have been impressed with the depth of skills within the Company that gives Mitchells & Butlers an excellent growth platform and enables the Board to have confidence in the prospects for the business.”

Total Company performance

The Company has disposed of a range of its non-core assets in line with the strategy set out in March 2010, which enables an increased focus on the growing eating-out market. In the first half before disposal, those non-core assets contributed revenue of £34m and profit of £5m (H1 2010: £162m and £20m respectively). Total Company performance, including these assets, was as follows:

  H1 2011
£m
H1 2010
£m
%
growth
1- The Retained Estate comprises the ongoing business and is stated before exceptional items and other adjustments. It excludes the major disposals of 333 non-core pubs, lodges and Hollywood Bowl, and in addition SCPD. This is shown in note 2 of the accounts
2- EBITDA used is the Retained Estate for the last 12 months to 9 April 2011
3- Weeks 1-33 are shown to include Easter in both years being compared
4- Adjusted operating profit and adjusted profit before tax are stated before exceptional items and other adjustments as set out in note 3
5- Adjusted earnings per share is stated as profit after tax before exceptional items and other adjustments, divided by the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue
Revenue 946 1,037 (8.8)
Adjusted operating profit4 141 156 (9.6)
Adjusted profit before tax4 63 73 (13.7)
Profit before tax 43 72 (13.7)
Adjusted earnings per share5 11.3p 13.0p (13.1)
Basic earnings per share 9.1p 12.8p (28.9)

Strategy on track

The implementation of the strategy as announced in March 2010 is on track with a number of key achievements:

  • Reshaping of the business is complete

We have finished the first phase of the strategy, to exit non-core assets and focus on core food-led brands. The £373m sale of wet-led pubs to Stonegate was a key element of this and was completed in November.

We now have nearly 1,600 restaurants and pubs distributed across an industry leading portfolio of brands. Food is now our largest single product with nearly three quarters of our sales deriving from meals and their directly associated drink sales.

  • Food growth driving operational performance

The Retained Estate delivered total sales growth of 4.2% in the first half, driven by a 7.5% increase in food sales. Like-for-like sales growth was 3.3% in the first 33 weeks (with Easter included in both periods) broken down as follows:

Like-for-like sales Trading to IMS
17 weeks to
22 January 2011
Since IMS
16 weeks to
14 May 2011
Total
33 weeks to
14 May 2011
Total 3.1% 3.4% 3.3%
       
Food 6.1% 4.8% 5.5%
Drink 0.9% 2.7% 1.8%

Gross margins for the first half were 0.2% points higher than last year, with drink gross margin down 0.1% points and food gross margin up 0.6% points. This improvement in food gross margin was generated by ongoing menu development, customer spend increases and some minor like-for-like price rises partially offset by increased food input costs.

Operating profits1 of £136m were in line with last year, despite being reduced by the movement of Easter into the second half (c.£3m) and by initial costs from our accelerated brand roll-out programme (c.£4m) relating to closedown and pre-opening costs. Net operating margins in the Retained Estate were 14.9%, against 15.5% in the first half last year.

  • Promising start to brand roll-out

In the first half of the year, £53m was invested with 29 new openings and 31 conversions, reflecting a rapid acceleration of the organic expansion programme. Investment returns are good, with an EBITDA ROI of 19% on all expansionary capital spent in FY10 and FY11. There has been an encouraging early performance from the new retail park investments and the Ha Ha Bar & Grill acquisition. In total we expect to spend approximately £75m on expansionary investments in FY11, of which c.£50m will be in respect of new site acquisitions and we expect this pace to increase in FY12.

  • Balance sheet and cash flow

Proceeds from our disposals have allowed us to pay off all unsecured borrowings and our net debt stands at £1.9bn, which is 4.9 times EBITDA. We have a clear funding plan in respect of our pension liabilities with £40m p.a. being paid through operating cash flow. We have funds and cash flow to support the roll-out of our brands envisaged in the strategy.

As stated previously, the Board will closely monitor the level of operating cash flow generation and capital investment opportunities for the business before taking a decision on the timing and quantum of the resumption of dividend payments.

Board update

The process for the recruitment of a new Chief Executive is progressing well. We are pleased to welcome Bob Ivell as a new independent non-executive director and will continue to strengthen the Board.

Outlook

Notwithstanding the current robust trading, we believe that challenges lie ahead in respect of input cost inflation from food and energy, in addition to uncertainty around UK discretionary consumer spending. These will create pressures on the business extending into FY12. However our food growth strategy and the reshaped estate mean that Mitchells & Butlers is well placed to deal with these challenges and to deliver sustainable growth in shareholder value.

There will be a presentation for analysts and investors at 9.30am at Nomura, One Angel Lane, London EC4R 3AB. A live webcast of the presentation will be available at www.mbplc.com. The conference will also be accessible by phone by dialling +44 (0) 203 059 5845, quote “Mitchells & Butlers”, the replay will be available until 02/06/11 on +44 (0) 121 260 4861 replay access pin 6786009#.

For further information, please contact:

Tim Jones - Finance Director 0121 498 5612
Erik Castenskiold - Director of Corporate Affairs 0121 498 6513
James Murgatroyd (Finsbury Group) 0207 251 3801

Notes for editors:

  • Mitchells & Butlers' leading portfolio of brands and formats includes Harvester, Toby Carvery, Vintage Inns, Premium Country Dining Group, Crown Carveries, Sizzling Pubs, Browns, Miller & Carter, Metro Professionals, All Bar One, Nicholson's, O'Neill's and Ember Inns. Further details are available on www.mbplc.com.
  • Like-for-like sales growth includes the sales performance against the comparable period in the prior year of all managed pubs that were trading in the two periods being compared. For the 33 weeks to 14 May 2011, 94% of the estate is included in this measure.

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