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Greene King struggles against tough comparatives as it prepares for takeover

LFL sales were down 1.8% in the 18 weeks to 1 September as the publican struggled to replicate last year’s boost from the summer heatwave and England’s World Cup performance

Greene King - Greene King struggles against tough comparatives as it prepares for takeover
Last month Greene King agreed a £2.7bn takeover deal with Li Ka-Shing, Hong Kong’s richest man

Greene King PLC (LON:GNK) has seen like-for-like (LFL) sales fall in the first 18 weeks of its financial year as it struggled against tough comparatives from 2018.

In a trading update for the 18 weeks to 1 September, the FTSE 250 pub chain said LFL sales for the period were down 1.8% as it struggled to beat last year’s performance amid the UK’s summer heatwave and England’s World Cup performance which drove many punters into its pubs and beer gardens.

READ: Ka-Shing! Hong Kong’s richest man to buy Greene King for £2.7bn

Meanwhile, LFL net income from the group’s pub partners was down 4.2% for the first 16 weeks of the year due to softer LFL beer sales, beer volumes in Greene King’s Brewing & Brands arm were also down 6.5% in the first 18 weeks.

However, the company said LFL sales in its pub company business were up 1.7% over the last seven weeks, and up 2.4% on a two-year basis, which it said demonstrated “continued momentum” in the division.

Greene King also said it was “on track” to dispose of 85-95 pubs in the current year, which it expected to generate proceeds of between £45-55mln to be used to fund the openings of eight new pubs.

The update followed news in mid-August that the company had agreed to be taken over by a company owned by Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing, in a deal valuing the publican at £2.7bn.

Under the terms of the acquisition, investors will receive 850p in cash for each of their shares – some 51% above its closing price the day before the announcement.

As well as the offer price, shareholders will also be able to collect their 24.4p a share dividend which is due to be paid on 13 September.

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