Brighter prospects boost shares in Gibbs Mew

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The Independent Online
GIBBS MEW's shares escaped yesterday's stock market fall, rising 3p to 138p as the small Wiltshire-based brewer hinted that three years of profits decline could be arrested in 1992/93.

Peter Gibbs, chairman, announced a 6 per cent fall in pre- tax profits to pounds 633,000 for the year to 28 March, but said trading had since improved despite conditions remaining tough.

A sales drive into the free trade - pubs, clubs and restaurants - put a floor under dwindling beer sales volumes in Gibbs' own 120 outlets.

Brewing and related activities increased turnover by 10 per cent to pounds 18.6m and profits by 7.5 per cent to pounds 1.9m. The results were also helped by a pounds 1.35m reduction in interest charges to pounds 1.9m.

Besides those gains, Gibbs expects Bridger Properties, its commercial property arm, to improve further after a 30 per cent cut in losses last year to pounds 289,000.

The dividend total is being held at 6.75p, which is probably welcome news for Sir Ron Brierley, the New Zealand investor who last week more than doubled his shareholding to 19.7 per cent. Earnings per share, aided by a sharply lower tax charge, rose from 10.97p to 11.89p.