Greene King profits to hold steady as new CEO takes reins

Pub group Greene King is set to post a small increase in profits next week in the first set of annual results under new boss Nick Mackenzie.

Thursday’s update is expected to reveal pre-tax profits of about £244 million, according to analyst consensus.

This will be almost flat on the previous year’s results, when profits dropped 11.2% to £243 million.

Analysts also expect revenue to be steady at £2.2 billion.

All eyes will be on the new chief executive, who took the reins from long-standing boss Rooney Anand in May.

Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said this year’s results are likely to be tinged with a gloomier mood than in 2018, with current trading missing out on the boost provided by last year’s summer weather and football World Cup.

“However, with new CEO Nick Mackenzie now in place, these full-year results may well give us our first glimpse of the ex-Merlin Entertainments executive’s plans,” he said.

“Given the challenges facing the industry, Mackenzie could have a stern task ahead of him.”

However, investors were cheered by the most recent update from the group, which showed a boost from Easter trading in the final quarter.

The group had a particularly strong Easter weekend, with sales up 4.6% compared to the same time last year.

In the 52 weeks to April 28, like-for-like sales across the owned pub estate were ahead of the market, surging by 2.9%.

Analysts at Liberum said in late April: “While the change at the top creates some uncertainty, the underlying performance of the business is improving and the change could stimulate the investment community to reappraise the optionality within the business as the debt is refinanced and brands rationalised.”