Shares in JD Wether­spoon surge to record high

Irish Examiner - - Business - Pádraig Hoare

Bri­tish pub chain JD Wether­spoon said its Ir­ish ef­forts are “ab­so­lutely” con­cen­trated on de­vel­op­ing its long-sought €15m bar and ho­tel in Cam­den Street in Dublin, as its boss blasted “un­elected oli­garchs” from the EU for putting the bloc’s econ­omy at risk over Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Shares rose al­most 10% to a record high af­ter the owner and op­er­a­tor of more than 900 pubs in Bri­tain and Ire­land re­port­ing a near 28% jump in profit be­fore tax and ex­cep­tional items to just un­der £103m (€117m).

Its shares have shrugged off any hit from a Brexit-in­term duced slow­down, gain­ing around 29% so far this year and out­per­form­ing its peers.

The group cur­rently op­er­ates five pubs in Ire­land — four in sub­ur­ban Dublin and one in Cork — and has long- plans to op­er­ate 40-50 premises here.

A €15m ho­tel/pub de­vel­op­ment on Cam­den Street will be its sole fo­cus for the next 18 months with any fur­ther ac­qui­si­tions put aside for the fore­see­able fu­ture, a spokesman said.

The chain’s boss, Tim Martin blasted the EU’s ne­go­ti­a­tion team in re­la­tion to Brexit. “It is my view that the main risk from the cur­rent Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions is not to Wether­spoon, but to our ex­cel­lent EU sup­pli­ers -- and to EU a re­sult of their cur­rent pos­tur­ing and threats, EU ne­go­tia­tors are in­evitably en­cour­ag­ing im­porters like Wether­spoon to look else­where for sup­plies,” he said.

Mr White said his firm was “ex­tremely con­fi­dent” it could switch from EU sup­pli­ers if ne­go­ti­a­tions stalled.

— Ad­di­tional re­port­ing Reuters

Pic­ture: Gareth Fuller/PA

A view of JD Wether­spoon’s Royal Vic­to­ria Pav­il­lion in Rams­gate, Kent, thought to be the largest pub in the UK.

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