Bibendum PLB profits soar prior to Conviviality deal

Bibendum PLB saw its profit rise to more than £6.5m prior to its acquisition by Conviviality, from a 1.5m loss in 2014, accounts filed at Companies House have revealed.

bibendum-plb-640x444-640x444The drinks supplier, which was bought by Conviviality Retail in May this year in a deal worth £60 million, reported group turnover up 21% in the 12 months to 31 March 2016, to £271m, compared to £223.8m the previous year. This included around five months trading of the PLB Group, following the merger in October 2014, it noted, but prior to the acquisition by Conviviality.

Profit before tax rose to £5,8m marking “excellent progress” from the £2m loss reported last year, and the company directors attributed to the dedication, excellence and talent of its team.

Gross profit was up 25% to £34.1m, it noted, due to an increase in the group’s gross margin to 12.6%.

The enlarged group, saw a rise in operating costs, but reported that these represented a smaller proportion this year than last – only 10% of sales compared to 11.1% last year – highlighting savings made across the group. However net debt also rose to £17.8m, up from £15.2m the year before due to the financing of the PLB deal.

The accounts also showed that seven directors left the company on 20 May, the date that Conviviality purchased the entire share capital in the company, with three others also stepping down during the year.

Conviviality Retail, which now controls around 8% supply of the UK on-trade in addition to its off-trade accounts, its CEO Diana Hunter claimed, reported a “transformational year” in May, after seeing group sales up 137% in the 12 months.

Market analysts Shore Capital have since said the company was an “increasingly attraction proposition” for both suppliers and customers, given its increased scale, expertise and footprint.

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