Pub owner and operator Ei Group has announced results "reflecting the impact of planned disposals" this morning in its interim report for the six months ended 31 March 2017.
The group has reported strong trading in the first six weeks of the second half of the year, boosted by a late Easter, but "more challenging comparatives" are expected in June and July following last year's UEFA Euro football championship and anticipated economic uncertainty around the general election next month.
Ei Group has reported underlying EBITDA of £140m, down from last year's£142m, "in line with expectations and reflecting the impact of planned disposals", and underlying profit before tax flat at £57m "as interest savings from reduced debt offset reduction in EBITDA".
It is shifting its focus from a single, predominantly leased and tenanted operation to a portfolio of businesses comprising a variety of operating models and trading styles.
Chief executive Simon Townsend said: "We are pleased to have maintained the growth momentum in our leased and tenanted estate while making significant progress in building our commercial property portfolio and managed businesses. Our transformation of the group remains on track.
"Trading in the first six weeks of the second half of the year has been strong, assisted by the timing of the Easter holiday period. We expect our trading performance to reflect more challenging comparatives in June and July as we benefited from the UEFA Euro football championship last year. We are mindful of the potential for continuing economic uncertainty over the coming months, and remain vigilant regarding possible headwinds from the Pubs Code depending upon its interpretation and application.
"Whilst taking into account these factors, we are confident that we will continue to deliver positive like-for-like net income growth in our leased, tenanted and commercial estates for the full year, we are encouraged by the trading performance of our expanding portfolio of managed houses, and we remain committed to the successful implementation of our strategic plan to deliver long-term growth in shareholder value."