Less than one week after the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approved the GBP 780 million (USD 950m) joint venture between Carlsberg UK and Marston's (inside.beer, 23.7.2020), the latter announced to axe 2,150 jobs. The company said, however, that the timing of the two announcements was pure coincidence. Government restrictions to curb the spike in Covid-19 cases were indeed responsible for the lay-offs.
“The additional restrictions which have been applied across the UK most recently present significant challenges to us and will make business more difficult for a period of time,” stated Ralph Findlay, Chief Executive Officer at Marston's. "I very much regret that the consequence of this is that the jobs of around 2,150 of our colleagues will be impacted, but it is an inevitable consequence of the limitations placed upon our business. We will be looking at our cost base further in the coming weeks."
Nearly all of the jobs which are now redundant are pub-based. The company owns 1,400 pubs, restaurants, cocktail bars and hotels in the UK, which are currently suffering a lot from the effects of the pandemic. “Inevitably, and regrettably, recent restrictions will impact jobs. Since the start of the pandemic, our objectives have included protecting the health and livelihoods of our teams. Government support over the summer was vital, and around 10,000 colleagues have so far returned to work,” the company said.
According to information published today in Marston’s year end trading update, total pub sales for the 12 months to October accounted for GBP 515 million (USD 67m), a 34% fall from a year earlier. This figure is “principally reflecting the closure period and the impact of the disposal of 168 pubs for proceeds of £61 million in the first half-year,” the company said. Total sales were 30% below last year at GBP 821 million (USD 1.1bn).
“Strategically, the transformational deal with Carlsberg has highlighted the inherent appeal and value of Marston’s Beer Company and will contribute to a further reduction in net debt when it completes at the end of October. We look forward to seeing the Carlsberg Marston’s Beer Company grow, realizing the significant benefits set out at the time the joint venture was announced,” Findlaysaid.
“Looking beyond the immediate challenges, we look forward to our future as a focused pub operator, returning to growth when trading conditions allow and realizing the opportunities which are open to us over the medium to longer term, “he added.