Greene King

BreakingGreene King takeover approved

Greene King pub
Greene King

Hong Kong's CK Assets Holdings has announced that its takeover bid for Britain's largest pub and brewery firm Greene King has been accepted by shareholders.

The Suffolk-based pub chain and brewer is the latest to be bought in a wave of consolidation in the sector.

In July 2018, Greene King, which brews beers including Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, cut 100 jobs in its Bury St Edmunds and Burton upon Trent offices due to a challenging year of rising costs, increased competition and poor weather.

'It was a reasonably generous offer'

BBC Radio 5 Live

Greene King pub
Greene King

This morning, shareholders of Britain's largest pub and brewery firm,Greene King, will be voting on the proposed acquisition of the company by Hong Kong's CK Asset Holdings for £4.6bn.

"It was a reasonably generous offer," Laura Foll, fund manager for UK equity income at Janus Henderson Investors told BBC Radio 5 Live's Wake Up to Money programme.

"I think there was a feeling amongst some shareholders that it could have been slightly higher - it wasn't a particularly high premium to tangible book value...but I still think the vote will go through quite comfortably."

However she added that the breweries that have not yet been taken over in the UK would now be likely get a premium bid because there are so few left that they will have a "scarcity value".

Sales dip at Greene King

Greene King beer pumps
Greene King

Pub group and brewer Greene King - which announced last month that it had agreed to be bought by Hong Kong operator CKA - has reported a fall in first quarter sales.

Like-for-like sales across the business fell by 1.8% in the 18 weeks to 1 September, which the company said reflected "the tough comparatives of last year's successful World Cup and good weather".

However, in the past seven weeks, which did not come up against last year's World Cup, like-for-like sales were up 1.5%.

Greene King shares hit despite strong sales growth

Greene King pub
Greene King

Shares in brewer and pub operator Greene King have fallen more than 7% this morning, which might seem a touch harsh given that the company is predicting full-year profits ahead of analysts' forecasts.

The company, which brews beers including Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen and Abbot Ale, expects annual pre-tax profits to be between £244m and £247m,

Greene King said like-for-like sales in the year to 28 April were up 2.9% at its Pub Company, and warm weather over the Easter weekend helped to lift sales by 4.6%.

However, it appears the market had been hoping for even better news.

Sophie Lund-Yates, equity analyst at Hargreaves Landsdown, said: “By most standards, Greene King’s results this morning would be seen as good news, with strong performances across the key Pub Company and Pub Partners divisions. Perhaps more crucially for investors, the group confirmed troublesome cost inflation headwinds were being kept under control.

"It seems though that someone, somewhere is disappointed, given the discouraging market reaction following the announcement.

"Weak numbers last year due to disruption caused by the ‘Beast form the East’ are flattering numbers this quarter, and we suspect the warm weather over Easter had raised hopes this year’s trading would be even better."

Christmas sales bubble up 10.9% at Greene King

Greene King beer
Greene King

Greene King has also reported "strong trading" over the Christmas period.

The pub company said Christmas and New Year sales soared 10.9% and it achieved record Christmas Day sales of £7.7m.

In the last 36 weeks, sales at its 2,798 pubs have climbed 3.2%, the company said.

It said it remains on course to dispose of 100-110 pubs and open around nine new pubs in the current financial year.

Greene King boss resigns

Pint of beer
Getty Images

Greene King boss Rooney Anand is to leave his role at the end of the financial year in April.

He has been chief executive since 2005 and said: "The time is now right for me to hand over the baton."

The brewer said an announcement concerning succession is expected to be made early in the new calendar year.

Greene King investors toast World Cup boost

Greene King advert
Greene King

International Consolidated Airlines, which owns BA, is leading the FTSE 100 fallers - down 3.4% to 657.2p - following a data breach of customer credit card details.

Support services business DCC is the morning's top riser so far, up 2.45% at £68.97.

Gains are meagre on the wider FTSE 100, however, with the blue chip index up 4.21 points at 7,323.17.

Shares in pub and brewing group Greene King soared by 12.7% to 536.1p on the FTSE 250 after it reported strong like-for-like sales following the World Cup.

The FTSE 250 is down 17.71 points at 20,265.78.

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