Punch Taverns, the UK's largest pub operator, has spent £14m over the past year supporting licensees hit by the consumer slowdown and the continued fallout from the smoking ban.
The level of support, which included £6m on rent concessions, emerged as the company, which has more than 7,500 pubs, reported a 7.1% fall in full-year pre-tax profits to £262m.
The figures exclude exceptional losses of £342.5m, mostly because of writedowns on the value of its pubs to reflect the downturn in trading.
There was an impairment loss of £139.9m against the value of its managed pub estate and £154.8m against its leased estate.
The leased losses were largely taken against 491 pubs which will be sold "within the next few years", Punch said.
Like-for-like contribution from its leased estate fell by 3.4% during the year to 23 August, while like-for-like sales in its managed pubs fell by 3.3%.
Punch said that although it had been given clearance by HM Revenue & Customs to convert to tax efficient Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) status, it wanted to focus on investing in its business.
Giles Thorley, chief executive of Punch, said: "Whilst we are not immune to the current difficult trading conditions, the steps we have taken over the past two years have strengthened our position and leave us well placed operationally to capitalise on any improvement in the wider consumer environment."
By Daniel Thomas
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