Friday 6 September 2019 7:28 am

Beer sales slip at Greene King after last year's World Cup summer

Beer sales fell in Greene’ King’s summer quarter, as they suffered in comparison to last year’s World Cup-fuelled boost in drinking, the pub chain revealed today.

Read more: Greene King shares surge 50 per cent as Hong Kong’s richest man makes an offer

Like-for-like sales sank 4.2 per cent among Greene King’s pub partners for most of the 18 weeks to the start of September.

Meanwhile beer volumes dropped 6.5 per cent and Greene King’s own-brewed beer dropped almost eight per cent.

Like-for-like sales for Greene King’s pub arm rose 1.5 per cent over the last seven weeks, and climbed 2.4 per cent compared to 2017.

But overall they fell 1.8 per cent across the quarter, “reflecting the tough comparatives of last year’s successful World Cup and good weather”, Greene King told investors.

The brewer and pub chain expects to sell off almost 100 pubs this year to earn up to £55m, which it plans to use to fund eight new pub openings.

Meanwhile it expects to limit net inflation to between £10m and £20m this financial year.

Greene King has recommended a £2.7bn takeover bid by CK Noble, from which shareholders stand to gain 850p per share.

That caused shares to shoot up more than 50 per cent when the deal was proposed on 19 August.

The bid offered investors a 51 per cent premium on shares worth 563p prior to the deal’s announcement.

CKA, which was founded by 91-year-old billionaire Li Ka-shing and run by his eldest son, Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, may convert some of the pubs into other properties.

Read more: Ex-Greene King boss pockets £850,000 after quitting

“I would guess there are bits of the estate they could look to diversify, but on the face of it I would be surprised if they repurposed all of the properties,” Goodbody equity analyst Paul Ruddy said at the time.

The company holds its annual general meeting today.