Alexander Mees, analyst at JPMorgan Cazenove, described yesterday’s full-year results from Marston’s as like a mild ale, with profits in line with expectations and no change to FY18/19 estimates.
He said: “Marston’s offers a market-leading dividend yield, backed by a comparatively defensive, steady earnings stream. Marston’s LFL performance in recent years has been superior to many of its peers, which we believe testifies to its success in building out innovation-based competitive advantage and growing volume while maintaining price. Our price target is 130p, December 2018.
He identified the following risks to rating and price target:
• Marston’s bias to the West Midlands and North of England could leave it particularly exposed to a downturn in consumer sentiment.
• A further decline in on-trade beer consumption could reduce the number of viable tenanted pubs.
• Adverse weather can always affect trade, especially in wet, and also certain food offerings.
• Marston’s may be unable to pass increased costs on to consumers through price, resulting in margin pressure.
• Marston’s high financial gearing could exacerbate any slowdown in top-line growth or margin pressure