Profits at Enterprise Inns for the six months to 31 March 2012 slowed as the size of the company's pub estate decreased and it absorbed increased leasehold costs from its sale and leaseback programme.
The pub giant saw earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fall 6% to £168m, from £179m during the same period a year ago.
It has also made further inroads into paying off its bank debt, having reduced bank borrowings net of cash to £397m at 31 March 2012 (compared with £446m at 30 September 2011). Its overall borrowings stand at £2.9b.
Over 94% of net income comes from pubs let on substantive agreements and like-for-like income in those rose 1.5% year-on-year. Like-for-like net income in the total estate was down 1.6%, an improvement on the 5% drop in the same period last year.
Enterprise chief executive Ted Tuppen (pictured) said the company had endured "extremely challenging conditions" over the past four years, with cost pressures, consumer weakness and political interference all contributing to tough trading conditions.
Enterprise had 6,143 leasehold and tenant pubs at 31 March, having sold 131 properties in the six months to March, raising £89m and making a £10m profit on the disposals.
By Neil Gerrard
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