A bigger estate helped boost profits at Scottish brewer Belhaven Brewery by 23% in the past year.
Belhaven bought 15 pubs from rival group Maclay last year, and its estate has now expanded from 117 to 151.
Pre-tax profits for the year to the end of March rose to £9.2m, from £7.5m last year, its 12th successive year of profit.
Turnover rose to £69m, compared with £55m in 2001. Belhaven's 52 managed pubs saw turnover rise 25% and sales in its 99 tenanted pubs were up 26.1%.
Chief executive Stuart Ross said the bigger estate, combined with carefully targeted promotions and a tight rein on costs, had led to an "impressive" rise in profitability.
He added: "Despite the impact of the increase in the statutory minimum wage and the adverse effect of the Working Time Directive, Belhaven's total labour cost, including management salaries in retail houses, reduced to 22% of turnover."
The group focuses on buying and running pubs in town centres, areas with a strong student population and suburban city sites rather than those in city centres.
A strong performance in the festive period also helped, said Ross.
The group's drinks division reported a 24.3% increase in profits, and has signed a £70m five-year distribution deal with Interbrew subsidiary Tennant Caledonian Breweries.
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 13-19 June 2002