Pub group Enterprise Inns pointed to continued growth in net income despite a 12.7% drop in pre-tax profits to £137m for the year to 30 September 2012.
The company said that like-for-like net income was down 1.2% over the period, compared to a 4.3% drop in 2011. And it highlighted the fact that performance trends were improving, with lie-for-like net income growth of 2.2% where publicans have been in occupation for over one year. Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were down to £340m to £366m the year before.
Enterprise described trading as "tough" with a raft of special events such as the Diamond Jubilee, UEFA European Football Championship and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games balanced out by summer rainfall.
Meanwhile, the firm generated £208m from the sale and leaseback of more of its pubs. Enterprise's estate now comprises 6,060 properties with a book value of £4.3b. The property portfolio comprises 5,902 trading pubs and 158 properties which are alternative use outlets or properties permanently closed.
Its net debt at 30 September 2012 stood at £2.7b, compared to £3b at last year end.
Ted Tuppen, chief executive said: "We are pleased to report significant progress in moving towards growth in net income despite a tough trading environment for our publicans and ourselves. We continue to stabilise operating performance with total like-for-like net income across the entire estate reducing by only 1.2%, or £5m, in the year to September 2012, compared with a fall of 4.3% in the prior year.
"Strong cash flows from operating activities and our successful disposal programme have helped to reduce total borrowings to £2.7bn, secured against assets valued at £4.3bn. Our exposure to the banking market reduced to only £310m and the market price of our bonds improved by an average of 21% during the year. The strong cash generative nature of our business has enabled us to agree a new forward start facility of £220m which extends the availability of bank funding through to 2016."