Midland pubco Enterprise Inns has revealed a £10 million fall in pre-tax profits as efforts to reduce a giant debt mountain continue.
Solihull-based Enterprise saw pre-tax profit fall to £64 million in the six months to March 31, compared to £74 million in the first half of last year.
The company managed to reduce its net debt by about £200 million, aided by £89 million from disposals, but its debt mountain stands at £2.9 billion.
Meanwhile, revenue was little changed at £342 million from £346 million in the same period last year.
Chief executive and founder Ted Tuppen said the second half of the trading year has started well, and although market conditions are expected to remain challenging.
The pub trade seems certain to benefit from the royal jubilee celebrations and the Olympics taking place in the UK this year, as well as the Euro 2012 football championships.
Mr Tuppen said that Euro 2012 would offer the chance for "communities to gather in their local pubs and celebrate national success."
He added: "As we continue to move the business back into growth, we remain confident that, in the medium term, we will be in a good position to deliver positive returns to shareholders."
The positive news for the firm was that like-for-like net income in its "substantive estate" – the pubs it wants to keep – was up 1.5 per cent in the first half of the fiscal year, having been down 1.5 per cent year-on-year in the corresponding period a year earlier.