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CASTLE MALTING NEWS in partnership with www.e-malt.com Greek
16 October, 2020

Brewing news UK: Marston’s reveals plans to cut about 2,150 jobs

Brewery and pub giant Marston's has revealed plans to cut about 2,150 jobs because of the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Insider Media reported on October 15.

The Wolverhampton-headquartered company's chief executive Ralph Findlay said the move was an "inevitable consequence of the limitations placed upon our business".

The news comes in a trading update to the London Stock Exchange for the 53 weeks to 3 October 2020, days after its £780 mln joint venture with Carlsberg UK was cleared by the CMA.

The update has revealed that the company's group sales totalled £821m, 30 per cent below the prior year while total pub sales were £515 mln, a 34 per cent drop due to the Covid-19 lockdown and the disposal of 168 pubs for £61 mln in the first half.

Marston's Beer Company's sales were £306 mln, 22 per cent down, but off trade volumes were up 23 per cent.

Findlay said: "This year has been testing on many fronts, predominantly from having to navigate the consequences of Covid-19.

"Trading has been difficult, but to operate at 90 per cent of last year on a like-for-like basis is better than our forecast, ahead of the market and a highly creditable result.

"In part, this is because most of our pubs are in suburban or community settings, and we have relatively few pubs in city centres which have been worst hit by changes in working habits.

"However, the additional restrictions which have been applied across the UK most recently present significant challenges to us and will make business more difficult for a period of time.

"I very much regret that the consequence of this is that the jobs of around 2,150 of our colleagues will be impacted, but it is an inevitable consequence of the limitations placed upon our business. We will be looking at our cost base further in the coming weeks.

"We have managed our cash flow very carefully and it is a credit to our teams that net debt is £70m below where it was at end of the Financial Year 2019 and £50m below the Interim 2020 level despite the 15 weeks of pubs closure.

"Strategically, the transformational deal with Carlsberg has highlighted the inherent appeal and value of Marston's Beer Company and will contribute to a further reduction in net debt when it completes at the end of October.

"We look forward to seeing the Carlsberg Marston's Beer Company grow, realising the significant benefits set out at the time the joint venture was announced.

"There is much uncertainty ahead, the majority of which is outside of our control, however we will continue to focus on the safety of our teams and guests.

"Looking beyond the immediate challenges, we look forward to our future as a focused pub operator, returning to growth when trading conditions allow and realising the opportunities which are open to us over the medium to longer term."


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