The cost of implementing the new licensing laws and increased competition on the high-street in the late-night market has dragged down full-year profits at Regent Inns.

Conditions imposed on the bar operator by various councils, such as added door security and the introduction of plastic glasses, reduced pre-tax profit in the year to 1 July to £5m (2005: £6.5m).

Despite a strong performance from its Walkabout Australian-theme bars during the summer’s World Cup competition, sales also fell and were down 2.8% at £127.6m (2005: £131.3m).

Regent is now pinning future hopes on Old Orleans, which it acquired recently from owner Punch Taverns to give the business a food-led offer.

Regent’s executive chairman Bob Ivell said: “Our acquisition of Old Orleans represents a significant strategic opportunity, providing us a terrific opportunity to rejuvenate the brand and placing us firmly in the fast-growing casual dining sector.”

On 31 July, Regent announced that David Turner, operations director, would be stepping down from the board on 1 November and leaving the company.

He has been replaced by Russell Scott who joined Regent as managing director, operations on 1 September, taking up a board position.

Regent Inns appoints Russell Scott to the board >>

Punch sells Old Orleans chain to Regent Inns for £26m >>

By Chris Druce

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