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The Caterer

Ultimate shuns

16 September 2004
Ultimate shuns

North of England late-night bars operator Ultimate Leisure stressed today that it will never run "all-inclusive" drinks offers in its bars, an idea it branded as "irresponsible" in light of growing concerns about binge drinking.

The announcement came as the company - which is behind the Beach, Coyote Wild and Chase bar brands - posted record full-year results, for the year to the end of June.

Turnover was up by 35% to £35.7m, compared with £26.5m at the same point last year, and pre-tax profits were 31% ahead, at £8.9m (2003: £6.8m).

Chairman Allan Rankin said the results had been achieved despite an increasingly competitive trading environment on the high street.

Much of the company's growth during the year came on the back of a share placing last October that raised £20m.

This cash injection had allowed the operator to expand its presence in Northern Ireland.

A first bar was opened in Belfast last year and now three other sites have been bought in the city centre.

The chain has also continued to expand in the north of England, opening sites in Durham and Derby.

Since the year end, it had opened a newly refurbished 1,600-capacity bar and nightclub in Leeds, added Rankin.

Referring to binge drinking, Rankin said: "Ultimate Leisure has always favoured, and will continue to support and encourage a minimum pricing policy for drinks in the high street in an attempt to limit these problems."

by Nic Paton

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