Pub group Enterprise Inns has reported a fall in profits, but said it had cut debts and reduced exposure to the banking market.
Solihull-based Enterprise (ETI) saw profit before tax and exceptional items fall to £157 million in the year to September 30, compared to £175 million last year. Revenue fell from £753 million in 2010 to £711 million last year.
Chief executive Ted Tuppen said the group had succeeded in a plan to reduce exposure to banks, with net debt reducing by £302 million to £3 billion.
Meanwhile, average net income per pub rose by one per cent to £64,000 across the year.
However, an annual revaluation of its pub estate reduced the book value by £173 million – a total of four per cent, after a two per cent fall last year.
Mr Tuppen said: “At the start of the year we set ourselves the task of stabilising the operational performance of the business whilst continuing to reduce our exposure to the banking market. We have made good progress on both fronts.
“The performance of our substantive estate, which makes up 90 per cent of our estate by number, 95 per cent by income, has continued to improve and we have reduced net debt by £302 million.
“Strong cash flows from disposals and operating activities have helped to significantly reduce bank borrowings during the year and we will continue to reduce our exposure to the volatility of the banking market by bringing forward a review of our existing banking facilities to secure appropriate bank funding for the future.
“In addition, we are reviewing how we can ensure that the income potential from every outlet is maximised including identification of additional opportunities to realise proceeds in excess of book value through disposal or alternative use, where appropriate.
“Whilst trading conditions are likely to remain challenging, we expect that the quality of our pub estate and the resilience of our publicans will ensure that the like-for-like performance in the substantive estate continues to improve. As we return the business towards growth, we remain committed to our initiatives and our strategy and confident that in the medium term we will be in a good position to deliver positive returns to shareholders.”