"The creation of the joint venture is an important step forward for our UK business. The joint venture's brand portfolio will allow us to offer a significantly stronger beer portfolio to our UK customers. In addition, the combined business will bring our customers wider choice, greater capacity, product innovation and marketing and distribution efficiency benefits." Cees 't Hart (Chief Executive of Carlsberg Group)

Friday 22nd May saw an incredible share price rise for Marstons plc (MARS)*. The British Pub Company had seen its share price hammered by the Corona Crisis, as it was forced to close all its pubs in mid March 2020. From 70p a share on March 11th, it was trading at 32p on May 21st. The jump to 66p on May 22nd was little short of remarkable. Only Carlsberg could script such rises for a major listing....

This week also saw a great rise for Dart Group (DTG), the airline, package holiday and logistics company. From a price of £4.72 on May 15th, it now trades at £6.81. The reason? A significant oversubscribed placement of new shares raising £172 million from its main investors with no discount.

There is a brutal reality to what is going on at the moment. I spoke to an insolvency practitioner this week and he has already dealt with the insolvency of a meat supply business to the hospitality sector and a coach firm that supplies schools and excursions. The common theme? The collapse in the leisure sector and income falling to near zero. The sad truth is that there will be many more. Now is a good time to be specialising in selling distressed assets- provided always that there is a ready buyer for them.

And that is the interesting point here. In the case of both Marstons and Dart, there were "ready buyers" for their stock, who clearly see good futures in those companies. As investors we are left with the question, is now an opportune time to dip into the leisure sector? Should we be those "ready buyers"?

Now when I talk of the leisure sector, I am referring to pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels, holiday companies, gyms, airlines and the wider travel industry. In short in the UK since mid March, people have been prevented from leaving their homes and leisure operators have been required to largely cease operations.…

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