BWG announce 15% rise in operating profits

BWG Holdings Ltd has reported strong growth for the financial year ending December 2003 with turnover at €1.8m.

BWG Holdings Ltd has reported strong growth for the financial year ending December 2003 with turnover at €1.8m.

The group achieved an operating profit of €37.8m for the period, €1.6m of which was generated from discontinued activities.

On a like-for-like basis this represents an operating profit increase of 15%.

Mr Leo Crawford, Group Chief Executive of BWG Group Ltd said: “The results for 2003 are excellent.”

BWG Holdings was incorporated in July 2002 and commenced trading, following the acquisition of all BWG trading companies as a result of an MBO, in August 2002 from Pernod Ricard. 2003 represented the first full year of trading since the MBO.

Mr Crawford said: “Since the MBO of the BWG Group in 2002 we have focussed our attention on the future development of the business. We have disposed of a number of non-core businesses in Northern Ireland, England, and Scotland and this has allowed us to concentrate on investing in the growth of key areas of our business.”

Growth for the company in 2003 was driven by strong performances by SPAR and Mace brands in the Republic of Ireland and Bargain Booze in the UK.

Over 55% of turnover for the company is generated in the Republic of Ireland and with the rest generated in the UK. In April 2003 BWG Holdings reported a turnover of €750m and operating profit of €14.4m for the first four months of trading from September to December 2002.

The company sold four UK-based trading subsidiaries in 2003, E.V. Saxton & Sons Ltd, A.R. Daunt & Co Ltd, Bellevue Cash & Carry Ltd. And J&J Haslett Ltd.

According to Mr Crawford, the disposal of those businesses, together with other property disposals and strong operating profit performance, made more than €100m. In addition the company is currently refinancing debt and this should lead to interest savings of approximately €4 million a year.

The Group today also announced a significant expansion of its UK Bargain Booze branch.

The company has said that it plans to expand its network of outlets by 150 - from the current 500 dedicated off-licence stores to 650 stores over the next three years.

The expansion will create over 1,000 new jobs in the chain.

“Last year we announced our strategy to expand the SPAR and Mace franchises, representing a total investment by BWG and our franchisees of €250m, and in the process creating over 1,750 full and part time jobs. The Group remains on track to deliver these plans and believe that by following this strategy we can continue to expand our business and continue to report strong growth in the coming years,” Mr Crawford added.

In that time the company also agreed the purchase of Tolan Distribution Ltd in Galway.

BWG Group now controls a broad network of franchises with over 1,500 symbol stores across the Republic of Ireland and the UK.

BWG Holdings Ltd is the holding company for a group of subsidiary companies including; BWG Foods Limited and Newhill Limited in Ireland together with Appleby Westward and Bargain Booze Limited, in England.

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