Lancashire brewer and pub operator Thwaites has seen profits jump after last year's improvement to its pubs and the restructuring of its business.
In the financial year ending 31 March, the company's profits rose 9.5% to £12.7m (2006: £11.6m), which Thwaites credited to its programme of pub conversions.
Thwaites has spent the last year converting a number of its managed pubs to tenancy or lease to mitigate utility and staffing costs. The move has helped profitability but reduced turnover at its 420-strong pub estate to £162.7m (2006: £164.5m).
Like-for-like sales, which strip out the affect of new openings, increased 3.8%.
Thwaites has invested £3.5m over the past two years to improve its estate ahead of this Sunday's implementation of the smoking ban.
Thwaites managing director Brian Hickman said: "The restructuring of our estate allows us to offer a really flexible package of managed, tenanted or leased options to suit both the pub and the potential retailers."
"This obviously came at a cost but has proved a real success and the work will be continued with a pub categorisation project that will allow us to further develop the total quality offering at every pub to really suit the customer."
By Christopher Walton
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