Young’s says it expects ‘lower sales’ when customers return to pubs

Brewer and pub group Young’s has said it expects “lower sales” when its sites reopen, as the company said it will not pay shareholders a dividend for the past year.

The London-based firm said it halted the interim pay-out in “view of the ongoing closure of the Company’s pubs” and “the expected lower levels of trade when they re-open”.

Pubs have been told they will re-open on July 4 at the earliest, although Boris Johnson delivered some optimism in the sector after he said on Wednesday that measures for hospitality businesses could come “faster” than previously thought.

The Prime Minister said he hoped the two-metre social distancing rule could soon be reduced to enable businesses to reopen.

Last week, Patrick Dardis, chief executive of the group, told The Times that “some of our most famous pubs are simply not going to work” with two-metre social distancing in place.

The company said on Friday that said it has also entered into a new £50 million loan facility with lenders HSBC and Natwest.

It said it has also entered into a £20 million bilateral revolving credit facility with NatWest.

The pub firm said it does not intend to draw from the facility now, but instead plans to retain it to boost its liquidity.

The move comes days after rival Marston’s agreed a £780 million deal with Carlsberg UK to merge their two brewery arms amid increased consolidation in the UK beer sector.

Shares in Young’s slipped by 1.3% to 1,155p in early trading on Friday.

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