The Marston’s AGM was held on 25 January 2022, at the Farmhouse at Mackworth, a Marston’s pub/restaurant on the outskirts of Derby. The committee was represented by Ian Brindley and Chris Excell, other members of the club were also present in a personal capacity.
The meeting was scheduled to start at 10:00am, and there was a good opportunity to meet with board members over tea and biscuits before the meeting began.
The Chief Exec delivered a presentation outlining performance over the last 12 months, and explaining the company’s plans for delivering growth through investing in the pub estate.
Since transferring the brewing operation into a joint venture with Carlsberg, the company now sees itself as a focussed pub company, with little exposure to the vagaries of city centre trade.
Unlike other companies in the sector, they did not need to raise capital from shareholders during the pandemic, benefiting from the sale of the brewing business.
They remain mindful of the importance of dividends to shareholders, but will not resume dividends until debt has been reduced to an acceptable level, and they are confident that any resumed dividend can be maintained.
The CEO explained why he is confident that the share price will recover, as valuations gradually recover to previous levels.
Ian Brindley asked about cask ale sales since re-opening, and sought reassurance of the company’s commitment to cask ale. The CEO answered that cask sales had undoubtedly taken a hit following the pandemic, but he was confident they would recover. The company cannot promise to offer cask ales through all of its outlets, as the offer is driven by local customer demand. Where there is a market for cask ale, it will be delivered.
Following the meeting club members visited the bar, where Marston’s Wainwright and Thornbridge Jaipur were available on hand pull. Lunch was purchased in the restaurant, which was found to offer a diverse menu of well-presented food.
Overall, an encouraging meeting which did not give us any cause for concern about our investment.
Ian Brindley & Chris Excell – CMIC Committee Members