Wetherspoon expects its pubs to stay shut until at least April

Pub giant JD Wetherspoon has announced that its pubs will be closed until at least the end of March as it plans to issue new shares for a cash boost of £ 92 million.

The company said it had no sales in 2021 as all 872 pubs remained closed despite coronavirus restrictions.

As a result, more than 99% of the current 37,674 employees are on leave.

The group has reduced its workforce by more than 6,000 since the beginning of March, including a series of layoffs at headquarters and the airport.

Wetherspoon announced to shareholders that it is currently consuming £ 4.1m per week while its locations are closed due to the UK lockdown.

It warned that it is currently operating on the assumption that the sites will remain closed until the end of March and predicts it will take until 2022 for it to return to trading levels from 2019 onwards.

In a separate announcement to the stock exchange, Wetherspoon said it plans to raise between £ 92.1 million and £ 93.7 million by issuing 8.4 million new shares.

The discount chain assumes that it has cash reserves that will last until the end of the current fiscal year without receiving an additional loan through the government’s Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).

She said she benefited from the 5% cut in VAT on food and soft drinks when her locations reopened last year, and is calling on the government to extend the discount.

Tim Martin, Chairman of Wetherspoon, said: “The Covid-19 outbreak is having a serious impact on the UK pub sector.

“After a number of false starts, the hospitality industry generally expects a return to more normal trading patterns in the spring and summer with the introduction of a mass vaccination program.

“The share placement announced today, along with the other measures being taken, will help the company get out of the pandemic in a strong position.

“Many thanks to everyone in the company as well as to the shareholders, suppliers, landlords and banks for their support and commitment.”

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