Luke Johnson has invested a further c£1m into Brighton Pier Group, taking his stake to 27%.

Johnson, who chairs the pier, bar and crazy golf group, said it was a sign of his confidence in the prospects for the company.

The company this morning announced its financial results for the year to 1 July, in which revenue grew from £31.3m to £31,7m, with group EBITDA flat at £5.2m.

In the bars division the group said progress had been made despite the volatile trading backdrop, with group performances on weekends and key calendar dates such as Halloween and Christmas, both of which traded ahead of last year on a like-for-like basis during the period.

He said the second iteration of its Smash ping pong concept, in Wimbledon, had prompted a “substantial” uplift in revenue and profitability.

The group exited two unprofitable bars in Manchester and Liverpool and let two floors in our Derby freehold during the period. In June it closed Reading Coalition, a year after converting it from its Sakura model. Heads of terms have been agreed for a sub-let to another operator, which is expected to conclude by the end of October.

Johnson said that once the sub-let for Reading Coalition has been signed it will mark the conclusion of the work started two years ago to dispose of the loss-making or marginal sites, enabling the division to focus on the larger profitable venues.

He said the group would pursue opportunities for selective investment to improve the estate. Plans are well under way to carry out a full refit of Putney Fez, with the venue planned to reopen towards the end of November.

In the Pier division, the £1.3m refurbishment of Palm Court restaurant, Horatio’s bar and Victoria’s bar caused some disruption in trading, but following the renovations the catering operations showed material improvements against the comparable periods in the prior year.

The six-strong Paradise Island Adventure Golf, which Brighton Pier Group acquired at the end of last year, has been successfully integrated and is meeting profit expectations, Johnson said, adding that the group was undertaking various initiatives to boost revenues, including introducing amusement machines where appropriate.

This year, the company plans to open the first new Paradise Island Adventure Golf location, since it took ownership., at Rushden Lakes.

Johnson said: “These are relatively testing times for the leisure and hospitality industries, mainly owing to cost inflation, additional taxes and intense competition. However, (the) board believes The Brighton Pier Group remains well placed to take advantage of opportunities. We have a well invested and diversified portfolio of experiential attractions in good locations. Overall the Group will continue to generate cash and repay its borrowings.”

 

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