Pub operator Fuller’s axes dividend after swinging to annual loss By Reuters

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(Reuters) -Britain’s Fuller, Smith & Turner said on Thursday it would scrap its full-year dividend, after swinging to an annual loss as the pub and hotel operator was pummelled by pandemic-led restrictions.

Like-for-like sales at venues directly managed by the company were at 76% of pre-pandemic levels for the 12 weeks to July 3, Fuller’s said, pointing to an improvement in net debt levels after the easing of some restrictions.

“The boom in staycations and desire to get back out with friends has led to strong trading in parts of our estate – particularly Cotswold Inns & Hotels and our rural pubs with rooms,” Chief Executive Officer Simon Emeny said.

The largely family owned business has had to cut jobs, sell some businesses, raise funds and seek loan waivers during the pandemic as social distancing measures and curfews shutdown its operations and hammered the hospitality sector.

Fuller’s said adjusted pretax loss stood at 48.7 million pounds ($67.14 million) for the 52 weeks to March 27, compared to a profit of 19.4 million pounds in the previous year. Overall sales and other income slumped 77%.

($1 = 0.7254 pounds)

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