Profit at the UK's largest pub chain, Enterprise Inns, has continued to soar in the year to September.
Pre-tax profit before exceptional items jumped to £305.6m (2004: £231.2m). The company, which owns pubs in Scotland, England and Wales, recorded average profit growth of 8% (£60,100) at each of its 8,590 outlets.
Turnover increased to £919.9m from £712.7m in 2004.
With the new licensing act ushering in longer opening hours for the pub trade from Thursday (24 November), analysts have predicted a profit bonanza for the bigger operators in England and Wales.
However, chief executive Ted Tuppen played down the monetary gains of longer opening come the start of the new act, arguing Enterprise had gone for moderate extensions and the main benefit of the new alcohol laws was the flexibility it would grant its tenants and licensees.
"We do not anticipate a material increase in turnover and profitability arising from the additional hours, but] simply a greater flexibility to allow responsible licensees better to serve the needs of their customers," said Tuppen.
By Jen Crothers
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