LONDON Feb 6 British pub group Enterprise Inns
said net income growth had continued into its first
quarter, as it pushes on with revamping its estate and
selling-off underperforming pubs.
Enterprise Inns, landlord to some 5,500 pubs, on Thursday
said like-for-like net income rose 1 percent in the 18 weeks to
Feb. 1, in line with its expectations but slightly shy of
analyst forecasts of 2 percent.
The performance compares with a tougher period a year
earlier when severe cold weather hurt trade and Enterprise's
business was disrupted by the collapse of a wholesale supplier.
It also comes as Enterprise's founder and chief executive
Ted Tuppen ends his 23 years in the role on Thursday. Tuppen,
who through a spree of pre-financial crisis acquisitions grew
the firm to 8,500 pubs at its peak, is being replaced by Chief
Operating Officer Simon Townsend.
Since the credit crisis, the group has been forced to sell
off a raft of pubs to help reduce net debt of 3.8 billion
pounds. At the year end to Sept. 30, the firm said this now
stood at 2.5 billion pounds, adding it expected to raise another
70 million pounds from disposals in its current fiscal year.
More recently, Enterprise has seen trading improve, boosted
by a pub refurbishment programme and services like free Wi-fi,
with the firm posting its first growth in underlying net income
since 2007 in the fourth quarter of its 2013 fiscal year.