Wolverhampton & Dudley to change name to Marston's

01 December 2006 by
Wolverhampton & Dudley to change name to Marston's

Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (W&D) is to change its name to Marston's, after 116 years.

The company said it would propose the name change at an extraordinary general meeting on 8 January.

W&D said the change would reflect its expansion into a national pub player in recent years through several acquisitions and the growth of its Marston's beer brand.

Company chairman David Thompson said: "This change of name reflects our development, but it also represents an opportunity to emphasise our tradition, heritage and values, and to better promote our pubs across the country.

W&D reported a 13.2% increase in underlying pre-tax profit for the year to 30 September to £101.5m (2005: £89.7m). Turnover grew to £595.5m from £556.1m a year ago.

The integrated brewer, whose estate totals more than 2,300 pubs, said its financial performance had been boosted by the acquisition of Celtic Inns in March.

The group's 1,900 tenanted pubs outperformed its managed division, Pathfinder, with operating profit jumping 23% to £80m as tenants signed longer leases.

Profits at Pathfinder, where the company has to bear soaring utility bills, were largely flat at 0.3% up at £63.5m.

W&D has also proposed a four-for-one share split at the meeting in January, to reduce the price of the company's shares and encourage more trading. At present the company's shares trade at a premium to rivals Greene King, Punch Taverns and Enterprise Inns.

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By Kerstin Kühn

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