Ultimate Leisure

Telephone:

0191 261 8800

Activities:

Ultimate Leisure is a late-night bar and nightclub operator whose venues are located predominantly in the North East of England and Ireland.

The company’s philosophy is to open stylish and imaginative drinking venues in freehold properties that achieve a target return on capital of 25%.

Its key brands are Chase (a lounge bar concept), the rodeo-themed Coyote Wild and the beach-themed Blubambu. A fourth core brand – Prohibition – was acquired from Living Ventures in late 2005 and will spearhead the group's bid to become a national player..

The group also operates a number of individually-named bars, many of them large-capacity venues, along with three hotels that also house bars and nighclubs.

Key People:

Chairman: Mark Jones
Finance director and company secretary: Craig Bell
Business development director: Colin Rowlinson

Commentary:

The year to June 2004 represented Ultimate’s fifth consecutive year of record results. But profit warnings in October 2004 and April 2005 were followed by the revelation that the group had made a loss of £95,000 for the year to June 2005 following exceptional costs of £8.5m.

A new board was installed to shore up the group’s fortunes and new chairman Mark Jones blamed the decline on stiff competition in some areas allied with an historic lack of investment in the sites over the previous three years.  “Some of our assets have become tired and no longer resonate with our customers,” he explained six weeks after taking control.

The recovery strategy included boosting the refurbishment budget for the year from £3m to £5m and introducing food to the core Chase, Blubambu and Coyote Wild bars – a strategy Jones warned would impact results for the year to June 2006. It has pinned its ambitions to become a national player on the Prohibition brand it acquired from Living Ventures in late 2005.

On a more positive note, the group revealed in January 2006 that a recent revaluation of its assets valued the estate at £80m, £14m above the previous valuation.

The company’s recent problems have made it a potential takeover target for Regent Inns, according to industry sources.

Strategy:

"These disappointing results reflect the historic lack of investment in the core business and the tough trading environment.  Our expectations for the year remain unchanged since we updated the market in January this year.  We continue to take a cautious approach to the second half following the very difficult trading over the important Christmas and New Year period.

'The new management team has instigated a capital investment programme across the business and is also addressing the cost base. Whilst realising the benefits from these initiatives will inevitably take time, we remain convinced that they will put us on a significantly stronger competitive footing and enable us to deliver value to shareholders in the future."

Source: interim results statement, 28 February 2006

Operating Data:

Number of venues: more than 30
Number of employees: more than 1,250

Key brands
Coyote Wild (rodeo-themed bars): 3, in South Shields, Mansfield, Derby
Chase (lounge bars): 4, in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, South Shields
Blubambu (beach-themed bars): 4, in Newcastle, Rotherham, Cork, Derby (with two more (the former Beach Club in Sunderland and Destiny bar in Glasgow) in the pipeline)
Prohibition: 3, in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham

Newcastle clubs: Luckies, Yel, Kiss, Bar M, City Vaults, POP Music Bar, Jimmyz, Sea, The Lodge
Other clubs: Barbacca (Belfast), Bambu Beach Club (Belfast), Halo (Leeds), Klute (Durham), Quilted Llama (Nottingham, Leeds),

Ultimate Hotels: 3, with on-site nightclubs and bars
Rex Hotel, Whitley Bay (70 bedrooms). Bars: Deep, Time, and Jimmyz
Gresham Hotel, Newcastle (11 bedrooms). Bars: Barbacca
Waterside Hotel, Newcastle (36 bedrooms). Bars: Jimmyz

Financial Snapshot:

Full Year

Turnover: £36.4m (2004: £35.7m)
Pre-tax profit: -£95,000* (2004: £8.9m)
* after exceptional items of £8.5m relating to impairment of fixed assets

Half Year

Turnover: £17.5m (2004: £19.6m)
Pre-tax profit: £1.6m (£4.9m)

Financial year end: 30 June 2005
Half-year end: 31 December 2005

Address:

29 Mosley Street

Newcastle upon Tyne,

UK