Leased and tenanted pub giant Enterprise Inns has seen its pre-tax profits slip 10% to £157m for the year to 30 September 2011.
The decline came despite average net income per pub rising 1% to £64,200 for the full year, up from £63,600 last year.
Chief executive Ted Tuppen said: "At the start of the year we set ourselves the task of stabilising the operational performance of the business while continuing to reduce our exposure to the banking market. We have made good progress on both fronts. The performance of our substantive estate, which makes up 90% of our estate by number, 95% by income, has continued to improve and we have reduced net debt by £302 million.
"While trading conditions are likely to remain challenging, we expect that the quality of our pub estate and the resilience of our publicans will ensure that the like-for-like performance in the substantive estate continues to improve."
In the past three years, Enterprise has been attempting to improve the quality of its pub estate through investment and disposals, at the same time as reducing its massive bank debt. The company now has 6,361 properties, valued at £4.6b. Its debt now stands at just over £3b, following a £302m reduction this year.
By Neil Gerrard
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