Stonegate Pub Company has reported a pre-tax loss of £746m in its latest financial results, compared to a £26m loss the prior year.
During the 52 weeks ended 27 September 2020, the UK's largest pub-owning company, which has a portfolio including the Be At One and Slug & Lettuce brands, said Covid restrictions on pubs had a "significant impact" on the group's liquidity. Shortly following Stonegate's £3b acquisition of Ei Group in March 2020, all its pubs were closed during the national lockdown and saw limited trading for the remaining months of the financial year and revenues fell to £707m.
Despite receiving a £50m cash injection from owner TDR Capital, it said legislation, utility costs, business rates and leasehold rents presented an ongoing risk to the business and "the events and future uncertain effect on trading arising as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern."
In the case of a further two-month lockdown this winter, the group said it would have insufficient liquidity in January 2022 and may have to resort to selling assets or raising new debt or equity.
Stonegate has 4,708 pubs across the UK and 15,900 employees.