Adnams brewery hails ‘bright times’ ahead

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Adnams says sales and profits are looking up
Adnams says sales and profits are looking up

Related tags Public house Beer

Suffolk brewery Adnams is saying cheers to “brighter times emerging”, after posting operating profits up by 29% to £862,000 for the six months to June 30.

Turnover climbed by 15% to £30M, with own beer volumes up by 18%, compared with the same period last year.

Adnams attributed the result to investments in innovating its brands, combined with the improved weather and economic outlook.

But profit before tax fell by 35% at £861,000, partly due to lower property sales in the first half. Last year, profit before tax was lifted by property profits of £789,000, particularly from the sale of the Southwold Arms. Despite holding pubs on the market, only one sale took place in the first half of this year, leading to lower property profits at £107,000.

‘Profit can be quite variable’

“We have noted before that our profits are weighted towards the second half and our first-half profit can be quite variable,”​ said a statement from the brewery.

Brewery chairman Jonathan Adnams said: “It is pleasing to report an improved picture in 2014, aside from our pubs, our businesses generated better results. Nonetheless, some caution is necessary. The first half of 2013 was not strong, but the second half showed good growth so comparators will be much tougher.”

Also, fundamental trends within the beer and pubs industries will not alter quickly, while the improved trading resulting from the hot weather and better economic outlook will not last, he added.

The brewery had been transformed over the past 10 years, partly by major investments, and more spending was planned, said Adnams. Investment had already allowed the firm to manage volume increases and provided the flexibility to brew a wide variety of beer styles.

“We plan further investments to build additional production capacity and flexibility and we will comment again on this in our 2014 full year accounts. Our heritage as a family business, with some shares being quoted, has served us well and will continue to do so.”

Outperformed the market

In the first six months of the year the brewer had out performed the market. Total volumes and cask volumes were up by 18% in the first half. Over recent years the brewery had developed its beer brand by focusing on growing business with managed pub companies and   partnering other brewers to produce collaborative brews. This strategy resulted in the largest volume increase in the past six months.

“We are delighted with this achievement, but such beer volume is volatile and can vary by large amounts between different periods,”​ said Adnams.

The firm’s directly delivered business saw volume growth in own beer of more than 10%. Overall trends in the beer market showed a small improvement, with total beer volumes ahead by 4% and cask ale volumes roughly flat in the first half, according to industry data.

Industry pub closures were running at the rate of 28 per week during the period from April to December 2013 – a slight increase on the previous period. Adnams said its smaller rural pubs were under particular pressure.

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