JD Wetherspoon plans expansion, lens on 2 restaurant stocks with over 45% YTD gains

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Summary

  • LSE-listed JD Wetherspoon has decided to expand and upgrade its pubs by investing £895 million (US$1.2 million).
  • With this, the company aims to create 22,000 jobs in a phased manner.

British pubs group JD Wetherspoon (LON: JDW) has decided to expand and upgrade its pubs by investing £895 million (US$1.2 million) in a phased manner and create as many as 22,000 jobs.

According to news reports, the company in its first-stage plan will invest around £145 million to develop 18 new pubs and upgrade around 57 existing ones. The phase will be focussed in areas like Leeds, Birmingham, Heswall, Sheffield, Carmarthen, Glasgow, and others and will create 2,000 jobs.

The next step would involve another round of investment of about £750m to launch 15 new pubs and upgrade 50 existing pubs and create 20,000 new jobs.

In the UK and Ireland, the JD Wetherspoon operated 871 pubs as of January 2021.

Founder and chairman of the pubs’ group Tim Martin said that his company is keen on starting the expansion plan and is ready to reinvest given that the UK government does not go back to its plan of introducing lockdowns or tiered restrictions.  

Earlier the FTSE 250-listed pub company had said that during the lockdowns it lost around £4.1 million per week. Due to the hardships, the company raised £141 million in April 2020 during the first lockdown, and £92.1 million in January.

Shares of Wetherspoons (LON: JDW) surged by 1.05 per cent to GBX 1,352.00 on 30 March at 10:50 am GMT+1 following the news. The group’s market cap stood at £1.72 billion while its year-to-date returns stood at 19.53 per cent.

The company has said that from 12 April it would provide outdoor sitting facilities at 394 pubs in England and around 60 pubs in Scotland from 26 April.

The hospitality sector is one of the most affected sectors in the UK due to lockdowns and tiered restrictions in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.

Also read: Quick Glance on Two Restaurant Stocks – JD Wetherspoon PLC & Mitchells & Butlers PLC

We would put our lens through 2 restaurant stocks which have given more than 45 per cent year-to-date return in last one year.

 

  1. Restaurant Group PLC (LON: RTN)

British chain of restaurants and public houses Restaurant Group PLC, which operates around 400 restaurants under popular brands such as Wagamama, Frankie & Benny's and Brunning & Price, had declared its new long-term financial plan of reopening outlets in April when the lockdown will be eased for the hospitality sector. The company said it had signed new debt facilities of £500 million, which will be there till 2025. The company said this will improve its liquidity as it was losing £5.5 million every four weeks during the lockdowns.

The group’s market cap stood at £720.73 million while its year-to-date returns stood at 96.48 per cent. The company’s shares were trading at GBX 124.10, up by 1.56 per cent, while the FTSE 100 stood at 6,757.87, up by 0.32 per cent on 30 March at 11:08 hrs GMT+1.

  1. Fulham Shore PLC (LON: FUL)

British restaurant operator Fulham Shore PLC (LON: FUL) swung into losses due to inactivity in the hospitality sector during the lockdowns and tiered restrictions. In the six months ended September 27, 2020, the AIM-listed company reported that its revenue dropped by 45 per cent to £19.9 million and the operating loss after tax was about £3.9 million as compared to a profit of £0.4 million a year before. During the January lockdown, the company’s revenues were down around 46 per cent from the normal trading levels.

The company runs 53 Franco Manca pizzeria and 19 The Real Greek restaurants in the UK. During the lockdowns, 48 pizzeria and 10 The Real Greek restaurants sites were active through home delivery and take-out services. Despite the hardships in 2020, the chain plans to open new sites in Glasgow in the coming summer months.

The group’s market cap stood at £94.41 million while its year-to-date returns stood at 45.57 per cent. The company’s shares were trading at GBX 14.97, down by 1.84% per cent, while the AIM index stood at 1,194.49, up by 0.05 per cent on 30 March at 11:20 hrs GMT+1.

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