Pub giant Enterprise Inns has had to fork out £37m to support its struggling pubs in the past six months, as the smoking ban and credit crunch hit publicans hard.
Enterprise saw turnover for the six months ending 31 March fall 3% to £438m, while pre-tax profit fell 11% to £132m.
Chief executive Ted Tuppen described current conditions for pubs as "tough" adding: "Consumer leisure spending is likely to remain under pressure for some time."
"Despite this, our licensees continue to tackle today's market with vigour and entrepreneurial flair, gaining market share and working with great purpose to make their businesses successful."
During the past six months Enterprise, which owns approximately 7,785 tenanted and leased pubs, has ploughed £37m back into its estate to aid landlords with the quality and profitability of their pubs.
Tuppen said the number of pubs asking for financial support had more than doubled to 800 during the period.
He blamed the smoking ban and the current squeeze on consumer spending as reasons for the worst trading conditions he could remember.
Enterprise is currently exploring converting to Real Estate Investment Trust status
By Christopher Walton
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