Coronavirus Update

Marston's Plc - Half-Year Results

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Marston's, a leading UK operator of over 1,500 pubs, today announces its Half Year results for the 26 weeks ended 3 April 2021.  The period under review, which commenced on 4 October 2020,  included a period of disrupted trading to the end of December, followed by a period of closure from December to April, due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.  Throughout the duration of the pandemic, the Group's priority has been the safety and wellbeing of its employees and customers, as well as taking appropriate action to minimise cash burn and navigate the business through the extended periods of closure mandated by the UK Government and devolved administrations in response to COVID-19.

Performance reflects the significant impact of trading restrictions in place for majority of period; strong management response to second period of lockdown

  • Pubs closed or restricted trading throughout the 26-week period
  • Implemented learnings from first lockdown, focusing on cash preservation
  • £2 million additional investment in outdoor trading areas in Autumn 2020
  • Continued support for tenants through rent waivers and grant relief assistance

Robust financial position: lower debt post JV completion; strong financial headroom; financial debt reduction target unchanged

  • Net cash inflow of £110 million reflecting £228 million net proceeds from the disposal of the Beer Company offsetting losses arising in the period
  • Accessed Government support from furlough, business rates, VAT and tax repayment plan
  • £116 million headroom on bank facility; medium term facilities extend to 2024
  • Target to reduce borrowings to below £1 billion by 2025

Clear operational strategy in place: "Pubs to be Proud of"

  • Guest focused strategy
  • Clear satisfaction, standards and people goals
  • Three core pillars: "Guest Obsessed", "Raise the Bar", "We will Grow"

Innovative acquisition of SA Brain pub operations

  • Core estate of 107 high quality pubs operated on long-term arrangements; 8 freeholds to be acquired
  • Proforma outlet EBITDA of £14 million; £5.5 million rent payable (2.5x cover)
  • "Capital light" acquisition - minimal impact on 2021 cash flow
  • Future upside potential from conversion to franchise and cost synergies
  • Model for future opportunities to grow Marston's pub portfolio

Building a sustainable business 

  • Award-winning environmental team with clear targets for the future
  • Company-owned water licence saving 50 million pints of water per annum
  • Rapid car charging points installed in 100 pubs - one million miles sold to date
  • Social agenda focused on wellbeing of guests, employees; community engagement

Current outlook post 2nd lockdown (April 2021)

  • 710 managed and franchised pubs opened on 12 April in England; with a further 66 pubs opened on 26 April
  • 145 managed and franchised pubs subsequently opened in Wales and Scotland on 26 April
  • Indoor trading permitted on 17 May when all of our pubs reopened
  • Well positioned to benefit from strong demand anticipated for UK staycations in H2 2021 with an encouraging level of bookings to date
  • Early indications of strong customer demand: sales in LFL sites running at around 80% of pre-COVID levels; April sales sufficient to deliver break-even Group EBITDA*
  • Further lifting of restrictions on 21 June; anticipate more normalised trading in final quarter
  • CMBC joint venture on track to significantly exceed synergy target
  • Strong platform in place to return to growth and leverage the opportunities which present themselves

*Like-for-like sales are defined as sales compared to the comparable period in 2019 adjusted for timing of Easter weekend for open sites only.

Financial Highlights











Total revenue*

£ 55.1m





Total loss before tax*





£ (31.1)m

Net (loss)/profit






(Loss)/earnings per share






Net cashflow






*Results from continuing operations

  • The first half-year was significantly impacted by COVID-19 regulations and nationwide lockdowns, with most of our pubs having been closed for much of the period.
  • The statutory net profit after tax reflects a £291 million gain on the disposal of the Brewing business into the CMBC joint venture, incorporated into the results from discontinued operations.
  • The business has a strong balance sheet position.  As at the balance sheet date, the Group had drawn down £164 million of a £280 million bank facility, which is in place to 2024, providing headroom of £116 million.

Commenting, Ralph Findlay, CEO said:

"Despite the challenges of the last year, the actions we have taken have ensured that Marston's has emerged a stronger and more focused business with a substantially strengthened balance sheet, a 40% stake in Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company and a clear vision for the future.  This is my last set of results as Chief Executive Officer and I am confident that the business is in an excellent position to execute its strategy and deliver a return to growth as the country recovers from the pandemic.

"Whilst still early days, trading has been encouraging since we were permitted to open our doors for outdoor trading last month and it has been fantastic to have our teams back in the business, doing what they do best, and welcoming customers back into our pubs.  Our recent strategic investment in additional outdoor trading areas ahead of reopening has enabled us to capitalise on the clear pent-up consumer demand for the pub.  We look forward to all trading restrictions being removed next month which signals a return to some semblance of normality.

"I am delighted to hand over the reins of Chief Executive Officer to Andrew Andrea later this year and am confident that both Marston's - and its talented team of people - will be in extremely able hands under his stewardship.  He shares the passion I have for this very special business and brings with him invaluable experience and knowledge of both Marston's and the pub sector, having been instrumental in shaping the Group's strategy to date.  Marston's has a great opportunity ahead and I look forward to seeing the Group go from strength to strength as it embarks on the next exciting stage of its development."