Vianet has said its data has shown a slowing of the rate of pubs closures but stressed the sector remains a challenging market.

The group has this morning reported revenue for the year up 3.8% to £19.24m of which revenue from continuing operations was down slightly from £14.4m in 2015 to £14.3m over the past year.

The group recorded 8.2% growth in EBITA to £3.44m and 9.6% growth in underlying profit before tax to £2.53m.

Its leisure division delivered adjusted operating profit of £4.12m (2015 £4.14m). The company said that despite an overall slowdown in the rate of pub closures (Vianet pub disposals 2016: 1,100 and 2015: 1,400), there had still been a net loss of 630 standard beer monitoring installations over the year. However, the higher value iDraught system saw 372 installations (2015: 526).

There were also five year core beer monitoring contract extensions with Star Pubs and Bars, Trust Inns, Punch Taverns, Admiral Taverns.

In the Vending Solutions division adjusted operating profit was £530,000 (2015: £560,000) after taking account of the c£200,000 cost of new appointments and one-off PCI compliance costs. The group extended its footprint with 5,284 new units (2015: 5,072) including a five year contract with Jacobs Douwe Egberts.

The group confirmed two significant appointments to the board – with Matt Lane joining from Nestle in the new role of managing director of the Vending Solutions division. David Mountford has also joined as director of technology & innovation.

Chairman James Dickson said:“I am pleased with our performance across the entire business in the period under review. We saw good progress in each of the three divisions and we are continuing to pursue growth opportunities in our Vending and Leisure divisions.

“The sale of Fuel Solutions in December 2015 puts the Group’s balance sheet into net cash position and enables us to focus on and invest further in our core assets. We have continued to experience adverse pressures in our beer flow monitoring operations, but with a noticeable slowing in the rate of UK pub closures combined with strong recurring revenues and further iDraught™ sales, the Leisure division’s income has been stable within the period.

“The Board of Vianet looks forward confidently to a positive outcome from the current financial year. In Vending we expect increased sales, partly supported by the new five year contract with Jacobs Douwe Egberts, and Leisure will benefit from long term contract extensions with its core customers alongside increased iDraught sales. The Group believes that strategic insight and actionable data willbe the fundamental value driver in years to come, and so continues to develop its Internet of Things capability to provide ever greater value to its customers.”

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