M&B pub sale brings profit

Marion Dakers
PUB and restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) will release its fourth quarter results on Thursday, a week after the firm started spending the fruits of its £500m asset sale.

M&B, which owns Harvester and All Bar One, is expected to post a profit after more than a year of volatile results.

The firm announced it had bought the Ha Ha Bar and Grill chain for £19.5m on Friday, and will take over all of its 22 restaurants in October.

The purchase is the first since M&B raised more than £400m last month by selling 333 of its pubs to Stonegate Pub Company and offloading Hollywood Bowl to rival AMF.

M&B chief executive Adam Fowle said the proceeds of recent sales would be spent on redirecting the group towards food-based businesses rather than pubs.

Execution Noble analyst Alistair Macdonald repeated his “buy” recommendation on Friday. “Once the estate sale deal goes through and the prelims are announced, clarity around the company structure should bring back some confidence in the story,” he said. “A good performance may be the jump start needed to M&B getting interesting again.”