The Oakman Group has reported an EBITDA loss for 2020 of £2.6m and a total loss of £13.9m.

As with the rest of the hospitality industry, Oakman said its performance was severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prior to the enforced closure of the business the company had been trading in like-for-like sales growth of 4% and total sales growth of 13%.

Whilst the costs of the closure impacted on these results, government support did not produce a benefit until after the year end.

This left the group with net liabilities of £10.8m, a figure that increases to positive assets of £13.6m after reclassification of shareholder loans as shareholder funds.

Oakman said there has been significant post-balance sheet activity, the company “stable, well-funded and ready for further growth”.

While describing the loss as frustrating, Oakman said it is on course to make a substantial EBITDA profit in 2020/21.

The company said: “The business has not only managed to survive the multiple closure periods but has grown its site pipeline, raised significant equity for growth and is expected, over the next 24 months, to be a net beneficiary of the pandemic.”

Since the June 2020 year end, £9m of equity has been raised, split between £4.9m of new funds and £4.1m of shareholder loan conversions.

Pledges have been received for at least a further £4.8m of loan conversions.

The damage to the cashflow from the second and third lockdown has been entirely offset by significant government support in the form of a VAT cut on food and accommodation, business rates cuts and, to a lesser degree, grants, the company said.

The group will have opened eight new sites by the end of June, bringing the total number of sites to 35, including two Oakman Inns, and six Seafood Pubs.

Oakman has a “substantial pipeline” and expects to have 40 operational sites by the end of FY22.

When allowed to trade, the company said its results were 40% ahead of the market.

Sales in the first week after reopening indoors saw like-for-like sales up 38.5% and total sales up 71.4% versus the same week two years ago. Average sales per fully invested Oakman Inn hitting £45k net of VAT

Executive chairman, Peter Borg-Neal, commented: “Our CEO, Dermot King, and his team have done an outstanding job navigating our business through this difficult period of time. We are trading very successfully, have retained the vast majority of our colleagues and have grown our estate. In addition, Steven Kenee’s excellent work in attracting equity investment from existing and new shareholders has provided not only financial stability, but also firepower to continue our growth.

“We are also grateful for the Government’s financial support, but it has highlighted a number of taxation and employment issues where we will continue to press for changes. Most importantly, the steadfast backing of our shareholders and the wholehearted support of our suppliers, landlords and creditors have helped us along the way. We believe that hospitality has been closed and restricted to a far greater extent than was necessary but now is the time to look forward to the future and play our part in rebuilding the economy.

We are very well placed to take advantage of the strong consumer demand we anticipate in the year ahead and are placing no limitations on the scale of our ambition.”