Wolverhampton& Dudley Breweries PLC
25 January 2002
25 January 2002
THE WOLVERHAMPTON & DUDLEY BREWERIES, PLC
CHIEF EXECUTIVE'S A.G.M. STATEMENT
At the Annual General Meeting to be held in Wolverhampton today, the Chief
Executive Ralph Findlay will say:
'Trading since 29 September 2001 has been satisfactory. Like-for-like sales in
our community managed pubs were up 4.0% in the 16 weeks ended 19 January 2002.
Total like-for-like sales in our managed pubs, including 50 pubs identified for
disposal, were 2.5% ahead of the comparable period last year. Like-for-like
sales were 1.0% ahead in our tenanted pubs for the same 16 week period. The
Brands division has also traded in line with our expectations including a 7.6%
increase in the volumes of Banks's and Pedigree sold in the take home market.
Net debt at 19 January 2002 was £413.4 million compared to £450.0 million at 29
September 2001, reflecting the continued reduction of the free trade loan book
within our Brands division, and disposal proceeds.
Our refurbishment programme for community managed houses is well under way, in
line with our plans. Since 29 September 2001 we have opened ten 'Bostin Local'
conversions from our existing estate, in Coventry, Gloucester, Kidderminster,
Long Eaton, Manchester, Rotherham, Swindon, Wilmslow and Wolverhampton. This
brings to 28 the number of community pubs we have developed in this way, and a
further 28 openings are planned this financial year.
In summary, trading has been in line with our expectations, and we have made
good progress towards our objectives of refocusing the business and delivering
shareholder value. Accordingly, subject to shareholder approval at the
Extraordinary General Meeting later today, it is our intention to return
approximately £76 million to shareholders on 8 February 2002 by way of a special
dividend, and a further £24 million by way of market purchases over the coming
months. A principal objective of such returns is enhanced earnings per share.'
The Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries, PLC Hudson Sandler
Ralph Findlay, Chief Executive Keith Hann
Paul Inglett, Acting Finance Director Andrew Hayes
Tel: 01902 329517 Tel: 020 7796 4133
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange