Cains may not be able to survive

Liverpool brewer Cains has admitted that its future is in doubt after reporting a £4.6 million loss in the six months to April 27.

Chairman Roy Morris said: “The directors do recognise that there is a material uncertainty related to this situation and the loss reported for the six month period which may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

As well as facing pressure from shareholders, who will receive no dividend and have been warned further losses are likely, Cains is in debt to HM Revenue & Customs and faces a winding up order on Aug 12. It is negotiating with banks over an extended overdraft.

Sudarghara Dusanj, Cains Beer Company chief executive, said: “As predicted, the smoking ban and reduced levels of consumer confidence have had a significant impact on the short term trading position of the business. Our retail division is also suffering from a historic lack of investment but positive returns are being made from our investment in pub refurbishments and Cains brands are increasing their presence nationally.”

Brewery sales, excluding those to its retail estate, were down almost 15%, mainly due lower own-label sales. But Cains said the trend had been reversed in the 12 weeks following the period end, “with some significant volume increases from major retailers”.