Leaving EU is no big issue, says Marston’s
Page Group ups profit forecast despite UK lull
MARSTON’S, one of the country’s biggest brewers and pub operators, has shrugged off Brexit as “not a big issue”.
The boss of the Wolverhampton-based company said it had identified “supply chain alternatives” to mitigate potential import blockages caused by Brexit.
Speaking as Marston’s posted a “strong year” of trading, chief executive Ralph Findlay was optimistic of successfully navigating any fallout from Britain’s exit from the EU.
“The majority of our concerns will come down to imports and how they are handled,” he told
“For most categories we have got pretty good RECRUITMENT giant Page Group has raised its profit forecasts for the year despite a slowdown in senior workers switching jobs that held back its UK arm.
Steve Ingham, chief executive, said uncertainty over Britain’s future relationship with the EU was the culprit behind a 4pc drop in gross profit at Michael Page, which fills specialist jobs for clients including WH Smith, G4S and central government.
The group’s Page Personnel unit, which hires for more junior roles, saw a 17pc boost, but overall UK profits ticked up by just 0.8pc in the supply chain alternatives. If you take wine … there are new world wines that are just as good [as EU wines] and in many cases provide cheaper options.
“We import food and drink from Europe. But the key point is there are identified alternative suppliers that we can use.” He continued: “There is also a potential Brexit impact on labour in the pub and restaurant sectors. [But] for Marston’s it is not a big issue.”
Annual turnover rose 15pc to £1.1bn with underlying profit before tax of £104m. Pub sales increased by 3.2pc with sales from its beer company up 47pc. Shares slipped 2.2pc to 99p, however, as annual profits missed expectations – Liberum analysts had projected £107m. quarter to September. Mr Ingham said: “It’s been a tough period, and uncertainty doesn’t help improve the chances of a candidate moving jobs or a client hiring.”
While younger candidates are still willing to switch jobs, those with more responsibilities were behaving more cautiously, he added.
Stagnation in the UK was not enough to hold back the group as gross profits surged 19.7pc thanks to double-digit growth in Germany, France, China and the US.
It expects full-year profits to be marginally ahead of the £138.7m consensus estimate. Page Group shares closed down 2pc at 533p.
Iain Withers Oliver Gill