Greene King profits up despite wet summer

09 December 2004 by
Greene King profits up despite wet summer

Pub operator Greene King today shrugged off the impact of this summer's dismal weather to report a healthy rise in half-year profits.

The only cloud on the horizon was uncertainty over consumer spending next year, said chief executive Tim Bridge, although he stressed the company remained well placed to cope with any changes.

Overall, pre-tax profits in the six months to 17 October rose by 15% to £44.4m, on a 22% increase in turnover to £314.4m.

The figures include a contribution for the first time from the 432-strong Neighbourhood pub chain, which Greene King bought from Laurel for £654m in August.

Greene King's pubs put in a strong showing
Bridge called the figures "strong" and, looking forward, said: "While the outlook for consumer spending in 2005 is unclear, we have a thriving brewing business and a well-invested, high-quality pub estate." Integrating the Laurel pubs was continuing apace and was expected to be complete by February, said Bridge. The company was on course to make savings of £6m in the first full year of ownership as a result, he predicted. Financially, in the 11 weeks of the period after the takeover, the Laurel pubs contributed £11.2m of trading profit. Elsewhere, turnover in Greene King's 524-strong Pub Company division, including the Hungry Horse chain, was up by 1% to £156.3m, with trading profit ahead by 8% to £28.7m, prior to the acquisition of Laurel. Margins rose by 1.3 percentage points and average trading profit per pub was up by 14%. The company had implemented a "chef's academy" within the division's Inns operation, which includes the Old English Inns chain, to improve the standard and quality of the food it offered, added Bridge. Pub Partners, Greene King's tenanted and leased pubs division, reported a 4% rise in turnover to £55.6m, with trading profit up by 8% to £23.8m. Margins were up by 1.4 percentage points, with the average pub trading profit up 6%. by Nic Paton Buy this week's *Caterer* magazine for more industry news and analysis
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