Mitchells & Butlers joins calls for pubs to re-open as it launches open offer

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Mitchells & Butlers PLC (LON:MAB) has joined the calls for hospitality outlets to be allowed to reopen as soon as possible as it launched a GBP351mln open offer to bolster its finances.

In a trading update, the All Bar One, O’Neill’s and Harvester chains owner, said sales fell 70% in the period from 27 September 2020 to 16 January 2021 as all of its UK outlets closed on 20 December and in Germany on 20 November.

Like-for-like sales were down by 30.1% on the prior year before the closures, the FTSE 250 group said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lay out his plans for England to come out of lockdown later today (22 February) and pub groups and their trade body have been pleading for a pathway back to normal trading to avoid permanent closures and job losses.

Phil Urban, M&B’s chief executive, said that the hospitality industry has done everything that has been asked of it to date.

“Now that the vaccines are being rolled out and infections are dropping, we are hopeful that pubs and restaurants will soon be allowed to reopen safely so that we can start to serve our customers again.”

Mitchells & Butlers to raise GBP350mln from shareholders

Mitchells & Butlers underlined its stretched financial position saying that on 16 January 2021 it had GBP113mln of cash with all lending facilities drawn.

Since the start of the year and with the estate closed it added that cash burn is running at GBP30mln and GBP35mln per four-week period with debt servicing costs of GBP51mln.

The next quarterly payment date for debt service is 15 March 2021.

Mitchells & Butlers had already announced plans for the open offer, which is being underwritten by three of its major shareholders who have formed a consortium called Odyzean Group and that will have a majority stake after the offer.

Urban added: “M&B was a high performing business coming into the pandemic and with the support of our main stakeholders, including the equity injection from this open offer, we have every confidence that we can emerge in a strong competitive position once current restrictions are lifted.”

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