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Mitchells & Butlers pushed into losses by coronavirus property hit

Mitchells said it expects to have the majority operating again by the end of month.

Mitchells & Butlers -
Pubs will start to reopen this weekend

Mitchells & Butlers PLC (LON:MAB), the All Bar One and Harvester's owner, posted a half-year loss after taking a huge property write-down to reflect the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on its estate

Most of its UK sites have been closed since March, but pubs and restaurants can reopen again from this weekend and Mitchells said it expects to have the majority operating again by the end of the month.

The FTSE250-listed added, however, that all its pubs will be risk-assessed and only those that can operate under the new social distancing guidelines will resume trading.

This will include a cashless-first approach initially, it said, and in some cases, outlets will become cashless-only.

“Each site will have clear directional and spacing signage to explain and help maintain social distancing; sanitising stations; disposable menus; table spacing; capacity management where possible through our online booking engines,” added its statement.

Phil Urban, chief executive, said the business had been performing very well before the enforced closure in response to Covid-19. 

“Coupled with our early experience of re-opening in Germany, [this] gives us a clear plan for re-opening,“ he said.

Alex, Mitchell’s German business, reopened in Mid-May and sales levels have grown each week since re-opening, it said, though city centre sites have been the slowest to recover.

In the six months to 11 April, Mitchells’ sales fell 12.4% to £1.04bn although before COVID-19 sales had risen by 2.6% in the first quarter on a like-for-like basis before being affected by wet weather in the Spring.

Loses for the period were £121m after the £148mln impairment, which the pub group said was almost all was coronavirus related.

There was an operating loss of £51mln (£140mln profit) while underlying profits fell 28.5% to £108mln.

Mitchells added it had financing facilities of £250mln at the time of the results were signed off against net debt of £2.2bn. 

Loses for the period were £121m after the £148mln impairment, which the pub group said was almost all was coronavirus related.

There was an operating loss of £51mln (£140mln profit) while underlying profits fell 28.5% to £108mln.

Mitchells added it had financing facilities of £250mln at the time of the results were signed against net debt of £2.2bn.  

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