By Steve Goldstein
The struggling U.K. pubs sector was in the spotlight Monday, as one leading chain said it will issue more stock as Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejected the idea of using vaccine passports to re-open them.
Mitchells & Butler /zigman2/quotes/209008939/delayed UK:MAB +2.30% jumped 7% to 351 pence as it said it will raise £350 million ($487 million) by selling stock, as it also reached a new £150 million credit facility with banks. Shareholders representing 55% of Mitchells & Butler, which operates under brands including Harvester and All Bar One, say they fully support the management team and will back the new stock offer at a price of 210 pence per share, a 36% discount to Friday’s close.
Johnson meanwhile rejected the idea of “vaccine passports to allow you to go to, say, the pub or something like that.”
Johnson is scheduled to address the issue of when the current lockdown will end next week.
Tim Martin, chairman of the pub chain Wetherspoon /zigman2/quotes/209658419/delayed UK:JDW +1.04% , called for ministers to reopen pubs at the same time non-essential shops reopen. Figures published by the Office for National Statistics on Friday showed that food and beverage services – which includes pubs – dropped by 48% in 2020, while, alcohol drink manufacturing, which includes breweries, fell by 33.9% during the period.
The numbers follow sales data published by industry trade body The British Beer & Pub Association last week that showed beer sales in pubs dropped by 56% in 2020
The U.K. has administered more than 15 million vaccines, boosting optimism that the country can soon end its lockdown. The pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.5599% moved past $1.39 for the first time in nearly three years.
The broader FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.30% gained 1.7%, getting a lift from oil futures hitting a 13-month high and a rise in industrials metals including platinum. Miner Rio Tinto /zigman2/quotes/208934945/delayed UK:RIO +0.45% and oil producer Royal Dutch Shell /zigman2/quotes/206428183/delayed UK:RDSA -0.28% helped push the index higher.
The advance came with U.S. , Canadian and Chinese markets shut for holidays.
— Lina Saigol contributed to this report