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Brighton Pier owner settles £5m pandemic insurance claims

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The owner of Brighton Pier and the Lightwater Valley theme park has settled £5 million of business interruption claims with its insurers after being forced to close during the pandemic.

Brighton Pier Group saw shares surge by around a quarter in early trading on Friday after it confirmed the settlement.

The company, which is chaired by industry heavyweight Luke Johnson, said it has already been paid £4.1 million for the insurance claims and received documentation for a final £900,000 on Thursday.

It said the claims related to losses the business faced to the end of June after pandemic restrictions forced it shut to its doors.

The update came as the group said it performed “strongly” over the past quarter, with summer weather, school holidays and a strong bank holiday weekend in August boosting its performance.

It said this reflected £15.9 million in total sales for the 13 weeks to the end of September, up 44% against the same period in 2019.

The group added that it was boosted by “pent-up demand and disposable incomes that built up during lockdown” as more people took holidays in the UK amid global travel restrictions.

Chief executive Anne Ackord said: “The sales over this important 13-week trading period have been very strong across all divisions.

“I am particularly pleased at the contribution Lightwater Valley has made to the group’s results and to see all our bars back open and performing so well after such a long period of closure.

“It is also good to be able to report a new record, with the final bank holiday week of this summer being the first time in the pier’s history that it has achieved gross sales in excess of £1 million over a single week.

“Lastly, I want to thank everyone who works in the group for their contribution to these outstanding results.”

Shares were 24.2% higher at 66.47p in early trading on Friday.

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