In light of closures and ongoing restrictions, however, revenue plummeted 57% in the period, falling from £60m in 2019 to £25.7m in 2020.
Nonetheless, cash burn was reduced to around £300,000 per month over the period, excluding all Government grants, with the exception of furlough.
In addition, company directors have sacrificed 50% of their salary between March and June, and 25% between July and October, deferring 25% of their salary from 1 January 2021 until pubs reopen. The deferral will only be paid once the group is generating “consistent” levels of positive cashflow.
The group added that “considerable” progress has been made with its landlords, who have largely been “willing to reach sensible compromises”. It confirmed it now has minimal rents “in a number of cases” in the event of a continued lockdown.
It also welcomed the recent Supreme Court regarding Covid-19 insurance claims, adding that the process for pursuing claims under its policy has been initiated and the board will update shareholders with progress once a settlement has been reached.
Last year, the group raised £22m of gross proceeds from an equity fundraise, with £10m of funds used to reduce bank borrowings. According to the group, the remainder remains on deposit to help maintain liquidity which is “sufficient, if necessary, to last well into 2022”.
Clive Watson, chairman of City Pub Group said: “2020 has been a very challenging year, but decisions made since March 2020 with regards to the fundraising, cost control, streamlining of the business, and strengthening of the board has resulted in a very strong balance sheet, good levels of liquidity, a strengthening of our business model, a more focussed proposition and most importantly, pure determination to go out there and do the business once the pubs reopen.
“We have the right people in the key roles, whether in the pubs or head office and a fantastic estate to trade from. I look forward to a time when I can announce to shareholders that we are on the acquisition trail again, but this will only be considered once we are hitting high levels of optimisation from our existing capacity.”