Thwaites initiates redundancy process and considers increasing banking facilities
Thwaites has initiated a redundancy process to ensure its cost base "reflects the environment that we expect to operate in over the coming months and protect the business against significant ongoing uncertainty".
The group, which has around 250 pubs, inns, hotels and spas around the country and won AA Hotel Group of the Year 2016-17, is also considering increasing its banking facilities.
In a company update on the impact of Covid-19, Thwaites said it had renewed its banking facilities in the first quarter of 2020 and at 31 March 2020 had net debt of £65.4m with total facilities of £82m, giving it liquidity headroom of over £16m.
At the end of June 2020 net debt had increased to £71.8m; £12m of headroom remained against the company's existing facilities and its banking covenants were relaxed.
Thwaites has reopened all its sites, and since reopening said trade has built steadily, aided by the VAT reduction, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme during August, the good weather and the increase in staycations due to travel restrictions. The group said it hopes the continued trend for UK leisure breaks would mitigate the impact of less corporate travel.
The company will not pay a final dividend for the year ending 31 March 2020, which executive chairman Richard Bailey said would be an "unpopular" decision and "not one that has been taken lightly".
He said: "While this pandemic is unexpected, the company embarked upon Covid-19 and shutdown in good health. Our initial experience upon reopening has been better than we had at first hoped, however, the coming months are likely to test us again. The company has been through troubled times before and has a strong asset base and an experienced management team to assist in finding a pathway through the challenges we face."