Enterprise Inns continues to investigate a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and is holding informal discussions with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to determine whether it could qualify.

In an interview with Thomson Financial News, Ted Tuppen, chief executive at Enterprise Inns, said while a REIT conversion was “appealing” it had to avoid the need for a material restructuring of the business.

Deutsche Bank has urged pub companies to lobby HM Revenues & Customs (HMRC) to evaluate its definition of rent income, which at present doesn’t define beer sales and property rent as a combined income.

In the six months ended 31 March, Britain’s second largest pub owner saw its turnover dip to £453m (2006: £473m) after the sale of its Scottish estate last autumn but pre-tax profit increase from £176m to £183m.

Enterprise said it would continue to enhance the quality of its portfolio through investment, acquisitions and disposals claiming it had pumped £35m into the estate during the six-month period to “improve the quality and potential” of the business.

It also said it was “too early” to drawn definitive conclusions from the impact of the 2 April smoking ban in Wales but expected to gain new customers and market share after the introduction of the ban in England on 1 July.

Smoking ban the catalyst as pub market diversifies >>

Enterprise Inns trading on track >>

Enterprise Inns pulls out of Scotland >>

Enterprise Inns all set for smoking ban >>

Read more on the smoking ban here >>

By Christopher Walton

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