S&N looks overseas to bolster growth

SCOTTISH & NEWCASTLE, the UK's biggest brewer, yesterday said it would target its overseas wine and spirits businesses for growth as it reported first-half profits up 7 per cent.

Brian Stewart, Scottish & Newcastle's chief executive, said: "You will see more development of our businesses outside the UK... We will look for bolt-on acquisitions in mainland Europe."

Currently, about 90 per cent of the group's revenues are generated in the UK, but some of its brands, such as Foster's and Newcastle Brown Ale, are already performing well in continental Europe and the United States.

Mr Stewart said S&N also plans to expand its UK wine and spirits division to take advantage of the company's well-established distribution network.

The group posted pre-tax, pre-exceptional profits of pounds 222.3m for the 26 weeks to 31 October on turnover up 2 per cent at pounds 1.7bn.

Like-for-like sales at the group's UK managed pubs, which include the Rat & Parrot chain, were down 2.8 per cent in the first half.

But the company said they were improving in November and December, and were now running "nearly positive". Scottish Courage, the group's brewing division, saw volumes up 0.3 per cent.

Mr Stewart sought to dampen long-term speculation that the company was grooming its Center Parcs holiday lodges chain for disposal.

He said the group was committed to its 13 holiday villages and that, after a period of underperformance, the company's pounds 36m upgrade of the chain in Germany, Holland and Belgium was paying off with higher occupancy rates.

"Center Parcs is very much part of the group and we are looking to optimise shareholder value by upping its value," he said.

The sites in the UK, Germany, France and the Benelux countries showed first-half turnover up 7.6 per cent and operating profit up 8.6 per cent.

Mr Stewart said the integration of the 765 Greenalls pubs, which S&N acquired earlier this month for pounds 1.14bn, was progressing well and would accelerate the group's future growth.

S&N plans to develop Greenall's Squares restaurant chain but will convert some of the other sites to its own brands.

He said there was "plenty of interest" in the 700 to 800 S&N outlets which are to be sold as part of the deal in order to meet UK regulatory requirements. The disposals are expected to raise about pounds 350m.

The company invested pounds 123m in its retail business during the first half of the year and opened 26 new outlets. Another 38 openings are planned for the rest of the year.

The group spent a further pounds 41m on building its beer brands in the period, including pounds 5m to cut costs and streamline its bottling and canning facilities.

S&N shares yesterday closed up 3.5p at 456.5p. Derek Wilkinson, the group's finance director said: "It wasn't the most exciting response to what we consider to be a pretty good set of results."

The stock has underperformed the market by 45 per cent over the past year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
News
people
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones