Pub group Enterprise Inns has reported a slight dip in profits but remained upbeat amid a tough economic environment.

Solihull-based Enterprise (ETI) reported profit before tax and exceptional items of £175 million, compared to £208 million last year, in the year to September 30.

However, after-tax profits did rise, from £6 million last year to £26 million this financial year.

The group enjoyed a £270 million boost from disposals across the year, realising an exceptional profit of £52 million, which helped it reduce its net debt by £374 million.

Ted Tuppen, chief executive, said: “We have delivered creditable results, hard won stability and genuine operational improvements in difficult circumstances. The economic environment is set to remain challenging and we do not underestimate the impact of the Government’s austerity measures and fiscal tightening which will affect both our licensees and their customers.

“However, the past year has demonstrated the resilience of the best pub operators in the industry and we believe that the profile of our estate, combined with the professionalism and flair of our licensees leaves us well placed to face whatever challenges the year ahead may bring. We remain confident that the business is in a sound position to deliver positive returns to shareholders over the medium term, including the resumption of dividend payments.”