Latest Pub News from Langton Capital

By | August 20, 2019

Latest Pub News from Langton Capital.

Greene King possible takeover.

Tue, Aug 20, 2019 7:36 am

Greene King bid, Brakspear, Eastern Med cuisine etc.:

A DAY IN THE LIFE:

So, with the announcement that CKA was to buy Greene King for 850p per share, we were almost immediately punished for suggesting that August was quiet and that there was no real news out there.

That’ll teach us but, for the moment, we’re a little short of time. On to the news:

GREENE KING AGREES 850p PER SHARE BID:

• Greene King, born in 1799, has agreed a 850p per share bid from Chinese property interests controlled by CK Asset Holdings. GNK shares rose 50% yesterday.

• Either the Chinese investor or the UK stock market had got the valuation wrong previously.

• Introduction:

• The UK pub industry has faced some headwinds. Costs have risen, alcohol consumption has fallen, and confidence is fragile.

• And the sector is pretty much 100% UK-focused, meaning that it has been a natural magnet for Brexit-related worries.

• But recently, trading has been a little better, capacity has come out of the market and, in the background, pub companies have been expending capital carefully (accommodation etc.) perhaps in contrast to the splurge that has seen the casual dining market get itself into such a mess.

• Nonetheless, share prices have remained below their pre-2016 referendum levels. After bids for EI Group and now Greene King, these valuation levels may be called into question.

• The terms of the deal

• Greene King (d.o.b. 1799) has announced that it is recommending acceptance of an 850p per share cash offer for the company from a subsidiary of CK Asset Holdings Ltd, which is a Hong Kong investment company.

• CKA describes itself as ‘a long-term and strategic investor in stable, profitable and cash flow generating businesses that benefit from real estate backing.’

• CKA currently owns around 3% of GNK shares.

• In addition, existing GNK shareholders will receive the 24.4p per share final dividend announced for the year to 28 April. GNK shares went ex the payment on 8 August & the dividend will be paid on 13 September.

• The bid price of 850p represents a premium of around 51% to the closing price on 16 August. It values GNK’s equity at around £2.7bn and implies an Enterprise Value of around £4.6bn.

• The bid values GNK at around 9.5x historic EBITDA (to April 2019) or 10x post an interest rate swap adjustment.

• GNK’s directors are recommending the deal as fair and reasonable as advised by Citigroup and Rothschild & Co. GNK directors are irrevocably undertaking to accept the bid, though they only own 0.05% of the company.

• The purchase is subject to the approval of CKA Shareholders in Hong Kong. CKA’s directors will unanimously recommend that CKA Shareholders ‘vote in favour of the resolutions to approve and implement the acquisition’. CKA’s directors have only 0.013% of the company. In addition ‘CKA has agreed to procure that the relevant trustees of the Li family trusts provide to Greene King an irrevocable undertaking to vote in favour’. The Li trusts own 31.4% of CKA.

• Timetable & Conditions:

• The purchase is subject to approvals by both sets of shareholders, to the agreement of the European Commission and to the sanctioning of the scheme of arrangement by the court.

• The CKA circular should be published around 16 September and the deal is expected to complete during Q4 this year.

• Rationale etc.:

• CK Bidco says it has faith in the future of the British pub and says ‘Greene King, being a leading integrated pub retailer and brewer with strong real estate backing, is well positioned to capture the opportunities that lie ahead.’ It says ‘we are proud of our track record in the UK and our philosophy is to support strong management teams and provide investee companies with access to patient capital in order to create sustainable long-term value.’

• CK says it ‘greatly values the skills, knowledge and expertise of Greene King’s existing management and employees and therefore does not intend to make material changes with regard to the continued employment of the employees and management of the Greene King Group, including the conditions of employment or the balance of skills and functions of the employees and management.’

• Chairman of GNK, Philip Yea, says ‘the Greene King board is confident in the long term prospects of the business but believes this offer represents a good opportunity for shareholders to realise value for their investment at an attractive premium, while also ensuring the future success of Greene King for employees, partners, customers and suppliers.’

• CEO Nick Mackenzie comments CKA ‘understand the strengths of our business and we welcome their commitment to working with the existing management team, evolving the strategy and investing in the business to ensure its continued long term growth.’

• Mr Mackenzie took over as CEO of Greene King in May this year. He replaced Rooney Anand, who had been CEO for 14yrs and had been with the company for 18yrs. See Premium Email for Langton Comment, Unanswered Questions, Press Comment etc.

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GREENE KING AGREES TO 850p PER SHARE BID: Greene King, born in 1799, has agreed a 850p per share bid from Chinese property interests controlled by CK Asset Holdings. GNK shares rose 50% yesterday. Either the Chinese investor or the UK stock market had got the valuation wrong previously. 20 Aug 2019: See Premium Email.

Langton Comment:

Other unanswered / unanswerable questions:

Press comments:

GENERAL NEWS – PUBS & RESTAURANTS:

• JT Davies & Sons, the parent company for Brakspear, reports that it has increased its turnover during the year ending 31 December 2018 by 12%, to £31.8m saying this generated EBITDA of £8.7m, up 13% on the previous year.

• JT Davies profit before tax over the same period was £5.4m, representing a 12% increase on 2017.

• JT Davies says ‘sales growth came from the 13-strong managed house division and amounted to £3.2m, giving an annual turnover of £14.8m for managed houses. The turnover increase came from like for like sales growth of £0.9m, the full year growth effect from sites opened in 2017 of £1.7m and £1m from the opening of the Frogmill near Cheltenham in July 2018.’

• Brakspear adds ‘turnover in the tenanted and leased estate was level with the prior year reflecting a 1.6% increase in like for like trading volumes countered by the transfer of a site to the managed division at the end of 2017 and the sale of two sites in 2018, both to local pub operators, as part of Brakspear’s pub disposal programme.’

• Re the outlook, CEO Tom Davies says ‘our managed estate is developing nicely, despite cost pressures impacting the business, it seems at every turn.’ He says ‘our plan has been to continue to support our tenants and lessees, with the aim of helping them to build thriving pub businesses, whether food-led or community local.’

• Research from CGA and AlixPartners suggests consumers are favouring Middle Eastern and Eastern Med dishes over more traditional Italian, Indian and Chinese fare.

• The Caterer suggests that Cabana will initiate job cuts and closures after previous owner Jamie Barber bought it out of administration

• The Sunday Times says Lidl will oblige its suppliers to pay the cost of import tariffs if they wish to sell into its Irish units

• CEO of UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls has called on the Government to provide a greater degree of clarity for businesses and the economy in the event of a No-Deal Brexit. Nicholls said: ‘The Government has taken great steps to safeguard the rights of those EU citizens in the UK ahead of Brexit. Although the majority of staff in the sector are home-grown, businesses do need to look to overseas talent to augment their teams’.

• The eleven strong bar chain, Dirty Martini has seen its summer sales increase 12%.

• The management of the Leeds-based Thai restaurant group, Sukhothai have completed a partial MBO funded by HSBC.

• Salcombe Brewery Co has announced its support for the England rugby team with the launch of a special limited-edition beer, the Red Rode beer.

• Research from Kantar has found that at least two-thirds of Brits snack five or more times a week, KAM Media has reported.

• Ei Group has teamed up with the beer quality advocated Cask Marque in order to create a collection of new Great British Pub Ale Trails.

• Punch has announced the appointment of Robin Belither to its Operations Team. Clive Chesser, CEO of Punch commented: ‘ I am looking forward to welcoming Robin to the team. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the hospitality sector which will help us to further deliver our plans, adding significant value to our publicans running pubs across the UK’.

• CH&Co has acquired Gather & Gather and Creativevents from Mitie, a move that will increase the group’s revenue by £137m.

• International sales of Cognac have reached their highest level after five consecutive years of export growth. Research from the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac has found sales increase 6.9% last year to Euros 3.4bn.

• Darwin & Wallace has announced it will open its eighth site in Canary Wharf, London. Mel Marriott, managing director and founder of Darwin & Wallace, said: ‘Our eighth site is at a tremendous waterside location in the heart of Canary Wharf and marks another exciting chapter as we move east, continuing our aspiration to create uniquely designed bars with a home from home aesthetic that forms the perfect backdrop for socialising from morning coffee to nightcap and everything in between’.

• UK shoppers failed to pick up £228m worth of goods bought via click-and-collect online orders over the past year, according to Barclaycard. The research found that over 70% of shoppers in the UK chose click and collect, selecting the option twice a month on average.

• The Canadian ecommerce company, Shopify is now bigger than eBay and has its sites set on Amazon, sending the group’s shares up 150% since the start of 2019.

 

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