Pub group Fuller's taps investors for £53m after Covid revenue hit

Pub group Fuller’s taps investors for £53 million through new shares after Covid triggered 80% plunge in yearly revenue – as boss vows to reopen 82 venues on April 12

  • Brewer Fuller’s chain of pubs and hotels have seen revenues fall 80% on last year
  • Company is losing up to £5million each month restrictions are in place
  • Plans now in place to raise £53 million through investors buying new shares
  • Comes ahead of April 12 relaxation of restrictions for outdoor hospitality

Pub group Fuller’s is seeking out investors to help shore up its finances after sales plunged by 80 per cent during lockdown.

The company told investors this morning that it will offer up 6.45 million new shares at 830p each as part of a plan to raise £53 million.

The London-based pub owner said revenues across its managed pubs and hotels for the year to date are set to have fallen by around 80 per cent against the same period last year.

The placing came as the company revealed that it has burned through between £4 million and £5 million each month of enforced closures.

However, it will reopen its first sites from April 12 as the Government gave the go-ahead for outdoor hospitality to welcome customers again in England.

Pub owner Fuller’s has said revenues across its managed pubs and hotels for the year to date are set to have fallen by around 80 per cent against the same period last year

Fuller’s said it will reopen 82 of its group-managed pub and hotels from April 12, with around 70 per cent of its tenanted sites opening from this date.

The company said it is well paced to ‘reopen strongly’ as trading restrictions are eased and expects to benefit from ‘significant pent-up customer demand’.

Consumer confidence returned quickly when lockdown measures were first eased in the summer, while staycation trading at its hotels and pubs with rooms were also ‘particularly strong’.

The group said it plans to use funds raised from investors to ‘take full advantage of the reopening of the UK economy and enable the company to explore growth opportunities’.

Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, said: ‘It was clear the demand for our premium pubs and hotels was as strong as ever when we were allowed to trade last year, which gives us confidence for the weeks and months ahead.

Simon Emeny, the group’s chief executive, said high demand from customers ahead of the return of pubs in April gave him ‘confidence for the weeks and months ahead’

‘Over half of the UK adult population has now had its first vaccine and we have a great team of people in place who are match fit and ready to welcome our customers back into our wonderful pubs and hotels.

‘The additional financial flexibility we are seeking to put in place will enable us to further capitalise on the opportunities open to us as we execute our recovery plan and regain growth momentum.’

It comes as pubs and restaurants saw a huge surge in bookings for outdoor tables ahead of lockdown restrictions being eased next month.

According to research by hospitality website, millions of people were making reservations for the two weeks after April 12.

Restaurants and pubs in England will be able to serve customers in outdoor seating areas from this date in the latest phase of the lockdown easing.

Hospitality website said millions of people were making reservations for the two weeks after April 12. Pictured: Punters in Scotland in July

Pubs with only indoor space will be allowed to reopen on May 17.

It has also emerged that millions could be allowed to go to pubs with no social distancing under plans to let people use their phone to prove ‘Covid-safe’ status.

Drinkers could be able to use a mobile app to prove they had either had the vaccine, a recent negative test – or that they had antibodies from having the coronavirus before.

The app would provide a virtual ‘coronavirus certificate’ – probably featuring a scannable QR code – so they could gain entry to pubs, clubs and restaurants.

As an incentive for asking customers to prove their covid-free status, venues taking part would be allowed to drop all rules on social distancing. However, for those relying on a negative test these certificates could be valid for as little as 24 hours.

Officials are looking to modify an existing NHS app that already gives patients access to parts of their medical records to facilitate the so-called ‘covid passports’ scheme.

The plans are being examined by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove as part of a major Government review into how ‘covid certificates’ could be used to reopen the economy as soon as possible. 

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