J T Davies & Sons, the parent company for Henley-based pub operator and brewer Brakspear, increased its turnover during the year ending 31 December 2016 by 14%, to £25.5 million
Operating profit was down by 11% to £6.2m, due to investment in the company’s expanding managed division, and in head office resource and systems to enable further growth. The managed business now comprises nine pubs, with three additions planned within the next 12 months.
Sales growth came from the managed division, where sales grew by £3.1m to £8.8m, while turnover in the tenanted and leased estate was flat versus 2015.
During 2016, Brakspear acquired the Grapevine Hotel in Stow-on-the-Wold for the managed business, reopening it after a major investment as the Sheep on Sheep Street, a stylish bar and restaurant with 22 boutique bedrooms. Also in the Cotswolds, a significant refurbishment and change of management team at the George Townhouse at Shipston-on-Stour has led to a number of prestigious award wins. Elsewhere, the Anglers Retreat in Staines transferred from the leased estate and reopened as the Retreat, while the Bull on Bell Street in Henley – Brakspear’s first managed pub – received a major refurbishment.
Within the tenanted and leased estate, Brakspear recently exchanged contracts on one pub, and continues to look for further acquisitions. It sold three sites during the year as part of its pub disposal programme, the Pizza Lounge in South London and the Rising Sun in Reading having been closed for a number of years, while the Abingdon Arms in Beckley, Oxfordshire was bought by a local residents group. The T&L estate currently stands at 123 sites.
Brakspear invested a total of £6.9m in its pub estate during 2016, including the managed house acquisition and developments.
During 2016, Brakspear continued to support the local community in and around Henley. Its first ever estate-wide charity partnership with Sue Ryder raised more than £50,000, helping the charity to provide hospice and neurological care for people facing a life-changing diagnosis and their families. It once again supported the Henley Club to Pub Swim by giving all swimmers a bottle of specially-brewed Two Bells beer at the finish line, and hosting the after-event party at its Angel on the Bridge pub. Finally, the Brakspear Jazz & Blues Festival returned for a fourth year, providing local musicians with a showcase for their talent.
Chief executive Tom Davies said, “2016 was a good year for Brakspear. Within our tenanted and leased estate, we are seeing real benefits from several years of investment in design, marketing, training and tenant recruitment. We have some of the best pubs in the T&L sector, run by some of the most talented operators”.
He added “Major investment in the people and infrastructure in our managed division allowed us to accelerate the development of this side of our business, and puts us in a strong position for further expansion”.
“We’re very pleased with what we achieved during 2016 across our combined estates, as our investment in acquisitions and refurbishments bore fruit. We will continue with that investment in our pubs, our people and our operators to ensure that we maintain this success.”