Describing the opportunities for Admiral Taverns for the forthcoming year, Paveley predicted that community pubs which are drinks-led have suffered from under-investment and represent an attractive prospect for the group.
The business would focus on these sites with regular, low spend per visit customers in populated areas, the executive chairman said.
Sale of pubs with no long-term future
After the acquisition a year ago of the nearly 190 pubs formerly owned by Piccadilly Licensed Properties, 477 sites were sold in the period with a further 164 sold since the end of the financial year. Of those sold, 33 were from the former Piccadilly portfolio.
Admiral Taverns Chairman's Review for the year revealed that at the time of the purchase more than a quarter of the acquired estate was not trading at all with many sold immediately.
"Admiral does have a number of pubs that in the view of the operations management team and board do not have a long-term future. Consequently our estate size has been reducing to a good quality core. The principle attributes of pubs identified for disposal are that they are low income generating (for both the licensee and Admiral), are let on short-term agreements, and are generally positioned in poor locations," Admiral Taverns executive chairman, Jonathan Paveley, said.
No growth until genuine deregulation
Turning to the regulatory environment for pubs in the UK, Paveley said that the increase in beer duty at the same time as rises in VAT showed the new government had not managed to slow down the flow of regulation. He said that whilst there were possible changes on the horizon the economy would not grow until there was genuine deregulation.
Admiral Taverns results and financial statements for the 52 weeks to May 2011 show that the turnover of the group was £106.7m while operating profit per pub rose by 4%.
Net debt for the company was reduced by 25.6% to £223m with another £28m removed since May. After a refinancing of the business in November 2009, Lloyds Banking Group control Admiral Taverns.