The AIM-listed pub chain reported LFL sales were up 3.8%, driven by good growth in its drink and accommodation offerings, while £3.2mln in exceptional items (including a £1.8mln costs expense relating to its initial public offering in November) caused pre-tax profits to stand at £3.2mln from £1.6mln the previous year.
However, outside the exceptional items, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £0.2mln, down from a £0.6mln profit the year before.
In its outlook, City Pub Group chairman Clive Watson said total sales for the first 14 weeks of 2018 were up 22% on the previous year, with 34 sites open and trading.
He added that while snow had adversely impacted trading in the first quarter, key sporting events such as the World Cup, new pub openings and a strong acquisition pipeline meant the company was confident in meeting expectations for the year.
In a note to clients, analysts at Liberum commented: “The pipeline of new pubs for FY18E is secure with eight agreed suggesting at this early stage the group could surprise on the number of openings during the year.
“Having ended the year with no debt and considering a 56% freehold mix, the group has the strongest balance sheet in the pub sector. Alongside this, 18% EBITDA growth in FY18E and a c.2% dividend yield are highly attractive."
Shares in City Pub Group were up 1.5% at 163p in early trading Thursday
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