The following report is designed for the purpose of a business analysis. I have chosen to analyse Mitchells & Butlers PLC by firstly, looking closely at the annual report produced by the company over a two year period and secondly, by researching their financial activities further than the annual report explains. I will compare and contrast ratios to help give the reader a better understanding of the company’s profitability, liquidity, activity and leverage. Summary
In my analysis of Mitchells and Butlers PLC accounts for the years ending 2007 and 2008 I found that the Group has a very complex financial structure. Especially with the occurrence of a financial disaster which ended in the loss of two years worth of earnings, which, in turn resulted in the departure of the finance director and calls for further boardroom departures from the disgruntled shareholders. Mitchells & Butlers is a high geared business and therefore a risky investment venture. The company are well positioned in the market for long-term success but the ratios do let down the attractiveness of investment by their much lower percentage of current assets to current liabilities, high gearing and low net profit margins. *Brief Historical Background*
Mitchells & Butlers is one of the UK’s largest operators of managed establishments with a strong portfolio of branded and unbranded pubs and restaurants with a mass market appeal. Their popular brands include All Bar One, Harvester and Ember Inns. Founded in Smethwick Birmingham as a result of the Beerhouse Act of 1830 easing the law on domestic brewing, Henry Mitchell’s and William Butler’s breweries merged in 1989. The company acquired rival breweries and rapidly expanded and merged with Bass in 1961, emerging as Six Continents before separating into hotel and retail businesses and becoming Mitchells & Butlers once again. Implication of Ratios on Mitchells & Butlers *(M&B)’s Financial Position* Mitchells & Butlers Gross1 profit ratio for both 2008 and 2007 is 25% and 24.9% respectively. An increase of 0.1% is satisfactory during these trying times for Mitchells & Butlers PLC. This indicates that operating costs account for 75% of the sales revenue. These huge costs are largely down to M&B’s ‘value and volume’ strategy. The company feel they are well placed in the troubled economy as they offer great value for money. This strategy makes for a high sales turnover but not a huge mark up on the product. They are constantly striving to be as efficient as possible and have a low paid and low skilled workforce to help combat high operating costs, and gain a competitive advantage. The Group have faced a turbulent year, dealing with the economic downturn in consumer spending and the inevitable decline in alcoholic beverage sales across the sector as a whole. This was not helped by the introduction of the smoking ban in England and Wales, following suit from Scotland and Northern Ireland, and costs such as fuel and energy spiralling ever higher. It’s no surprise then, when we look at the Net Profit Margin2 and see that it has decreased by 1.5% from 10.9% in 2007 to 9.4% in 2008. In the midst of a depression this decline is not too alarming. With a Gearing ratio3 of 2.4:1 in 2008 and 1.5:1 in 2007 there is a high risk involved when investing in this company. From analysing M & B’s debt structure it seems further leveraging of its balance sheet would be difficult given the harsh, current conditions in debt markets. The Group’s pension fund deficit creates further problems when trying to attract prospective private equity buyers. As you can see it has become a considerably higher geared company in 2008 and this is due to the considerable loss faced by the company in an unexpected twist in the Mitchells & Butlers story. When entering into a property venture with company R20, both groups were advised by the bank, as part of their loan agreement, to take out...
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