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ALE Property Group profit down 2.4 per cent

Australia’s largest freehold pub owner says its profit dipped 2.4 per cent to $28.3 million in the year ending June 30 due to higher management expenses and land taxes in Queensland.

ALE Property Group said on Wednesday it made $60.2 million in revenue on leases, up from 3.6 per cent from last year.

ALE leases its 86 freehold pubs to Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH), a joint venture between Woolworths and Bruce Mathieson.

ALE said its management expenses had increased in preparation with a major rent review on 79 of those 86 investment properties.

ALH has accepted a 10 per cent increase in rent on 36 pubs and rejected a similar increase on 43 so they will go to independent determination.

ALE announced separately that chief executive Andrew Wilkinson would resign after being at the helm since the company’s listing in 2003.

Wilkinson would stay on until a new CEO could be found and the rent determinations were complete, ALE said.

ALE also said it was keeping an eye on Woolworths’ plans to merge ALH its Endeavour Drinks business, which operates Dan Murphy’s and BWS liquor stores, into a drinks and hospitality business to be called Endeavour Group.

Woolworths intends to sell or spin off the group next year.

Despite making a distributable profit of 14.45 cents per share, ALE said it would pay a dividend of 20.9 cents, funding the difference out of capital and cash reserves.

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