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viewThe City Pub Group PLC
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The City Pub Group now trading profitably as restrictions ease

''We have been very encouraged by how we have traded since reopening despite the continuing restrictions"

The City Pub Group PLC - The City Pub Group now trading profitably as restrictions ease

The City Pub Group PLC (LON:CPC) said it is currently trading profitably and at 90% of 2019 levels.

The publican has reopened 42 out of 48 sites, located across Southern England and Wales, while four are under development and earmarked to open in spring 2022.

READ: City Pub Group deserves premium valuation, Liberum says, after better-than-expected results

The firm said the cost base has been significantly reduced and the performance has been “very pleasing”, however the continuing social distancing rules and absence of large bookings have limited trade.

This became apparent at the start of the European Football Championships, it added, where many customers did not want to watch live sport at pubs because of the social distancing restrictions.

“We look forward to all restrictions being lifted on 19 July and we believe that once restrictions are lifted, trade will build over the remainder of the year to above 2019 levels, although it is difficult to predict at this stage exactly when this might happen,” City Pub said.

The AIM-listed group currently has over £16mln of unutilised banking facilities, is cash generative and is starting to identify new acquisitions.

City Pub also revealed that it has purchased the freehold of the Roundhouse in Wandsworth Common, where it only had four years left on the lease, for a total consideration of £1.1mln.

''We have been very encouraged by how we have traded since reopening despite the continuing restrictions. We are cash generative and trading profitably demonstrating the strength of our business model,” said executive chairman Clive Watson in a release.

Analysts at house broker Liberum said the latest freehold acquisition brings the total number of freeholds to 31 out of 48 retained sites, which is around 65%. Wetherspoons (LON:JDW) has a similar value of 64%.

"City Pubs has demonstrated its ability to reduce its cost base and streamline operations, which bodes well for the recovery in sales and profit margin as trading restrictions are further lifted," they said.

"We believe City Pubs deserves to trade on a premium to its pub peers given its growth outlook. We expect further momentum will be driven from evidence of the operational improvement coming through with margin progression and upside from future acquisition activity."

--Adds broker comment--

Quick facts: The City Pub Group PLC

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AIM:CPC

Price: 113.5 GBX

Market Cap: £121.54 m

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