Brakspear Reports Strong Results for Year of ‘Positive Change’

Chief Exec, Tom Davies

Chief Exec, Tom Davies

J T Davies & Sons, the parent company for Henley-based pub operator and brewer Brakspear, increased draught beer and cider volumes through its pubs by 5.2% in 2013 compared to 2012, with a like for like uplift of 2.7%. Total turnover for the year ending 31 December grew by 8.4% to £17.8 million.

Operating profit rose by 15.8% to £5.4m and profit before tax and exceptional items was up by 26.2% at £3.5m.

Brakspear invested a total of £2 million in its pubs during 2013. Its in-house design team has proved invaluable in helping tenants to achieve maximum impact from refurbishments and ‘sparkles’ in their pubs. Some of the pubs in and around Henley to benefit from the design service included the Green Man at Hurst, the Bull at Wargrave, the Perch and Pike at South Stoke as well as both the Old Bell and the Bull on Bell Street.

Chief executive Tom Davies said, “2013 was a year of positive change at Brakspear, with a sizeable increase in the support we offer to our tenants across marketing, training and business development, as well as design. It is good to see our investment in these areas translated into these excellent figures, which have been delivered by the busy and profitable pubs run by our talented licensees.”

External validation of Brakspear’s success came in March this year, when the company was named Best Tenanted & Leased Pub Company (up to 200 sites) in the prestigious Publican Awards 2014. Judges pointed to Brakspear’s wide-ranging support for its tenants and praised them for “working imaginatively on the landlord-tenant relationship, offering more flexibility.”

Chief Exec, Tom Davies

Brakspear’s 2013 results are the first to include a full year’s trading for the six tenanted and leased pubs acquired by Brakspear in 2012, which all performed ahead of expectation. They also show a partial year’s trading for its first two managed pubs, the Bull on Bell Street in Henley and the Porch House in Stow-on-the-Wold, which opened in March and September 2013 respectively. Together, they achieved £1.5m in sales and delivered expected profits, despite significant set up costs.

Brakspear created an additional 35 jobs in Henley in 2013, at the Bull, the Bell Street microbrewery and the head office.

Davies said, “These are strong results from a business in excellent health and show the benefit of our approach to running pubs. We will continue to invest in our pubs and our people where we can see the possibility of healthy returns, but, by the same token, will dispose of pubs that have become permanently unviable.

“Closing a pub isn’t a decision we take lightly – after all, running pubs has been Brakspear’s business for five generations. Proceeds from the sale of failed pubs can be used to help others to thrive.” Last year, Brakspear sold seven pubs.

“Our estate has some of the finest pubs in the south-east, run by some of the best operators in the industry, and we are optimistic about the trading outlook for our pubs as the country moves out of recession and consumer confidence returns.”