Leav­ing EU is no big is­sue, says Marston’s

Page Group ups profit fore­cast de­spite UK lull

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Tele­graph. By Jack Tor­rance The Daily

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.