Information  X 
Enter a valid email address

Wolv.& Dudley Brews. (WOLV)

  Print      Mail a friend

Wednesday 27 September, 2006

Wolv.& Dudley Brews.

Trading Statement

Wolverhampton& Dudley Breweries PLC
27 September 2006

                                                               27 September 2006





               The Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, PLC ('W&DB')



                           Pre Close Trading Update





In accordance with its usual practice the Board of W&DB PLC reports on trading
for the 51 weeks ending 23 September 2006. Preliminary results for the 52 weeks
to 30 September are due to be reported on 1 December 2006.



Trading



Performance for the year to date is in line with our expectations, with good
summer trading overall.



In Pathfinder Pubs, which comprises 457 managed pubs, total like-for-like sales
during June and July were up 6.7%, benefiting from good weather and the World
Cup. Trading since the end of July has continued to be ahead of last year. Total
like-for like sales in the second half of this financial year were 3.7% ahead of
last year and 2.4% ahead in the 51 week period. We have made excellent progress
with our new-build pubs in Pathfinder Pubs, and have a good pipeline of sites
for development in 2007.



The Union Pub Company will comprise 1,898 tenanted pubs following the
acquisition of Celtic Inns in March 2006 and on completion of the transfer of 93
pubs from Pathfinder Pubs during the second half of the year. Average profit per
pub is estimated to have increased by approximately 5% in the 51 week period.



Our recent sponsorship of the England Cricket Board ('The ECB') reflects WDB
Brands' increasing focus on premium ale - through Marston's Pedigree, Old Empire
and Jennings Cumberland Ale. We have increased our share of the premium ale
market, and performed in line with the standard ale market.



Pensions



We are in the process of a carrying out a triennial valuation of our final
salary pension scheme and, although the valuation is not yet finalised, we
estimate pension costs charged to the profit and loss account will increase by
around £2 million from next year.



Share buy-backs



During August we purchased around 904,000 shares at a total cost of £11.8
million which have been placed in treasury. Our conservative financing allows us
to continue to consider acquisitions or future share buy-backs whilst retaining
an efficient balance sheet.



Outlook



Detailed plans are in place in preparation for the smoking ban in England and
Wales, which is due to come into force during the summer of 2007 or earlier. Our
investment plans, both in managed and tenanted pubs, are well advanced. Over 85%
of our pubs have gardens, patios or some form of outside trading area, allowing
us to target opportunities and reduce risk.



We expect that higher energy prices and a 6% increase in the minimum wage level
will impact our overall cost base by around £5 million next year. We remain
cautious on the outlook for consumer spending given recent increases in domestic
energy

costs, historically high levels of consumer debt, and some upward pressure on
interest rates. We continue to seek to mitigate the impact of cost pressures
through efficiency and cost reduction initiatives.



Our integrated business model provides us with wider investment opportunities
and increased operational flexibility. The Board remains confident that our
strong balance sheet, conservative financing and strong cash flow will allow us
to continue to target further investments meeting our return on capital
criteria.





Enquiries:


The Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, PLC                   Hudson Sandler
Ralph Findlay, Chief Executive                              Andrew Hayes
Paul Inglett, Finance Director                              Nick Lyon
Tel: 01902 329516                                           James White
                                                            Tel: 020 7796 4133




                      This information is provided by RNS
            The company news service from the London Stock Exchange                                                                                                                                   

a d v e r t i s e m e n t