Punch Taverns has today reported a pre-tax profit of £60m, in complete contrast to its £150m loss last year.
Its preliminary results for the year ending 22 August 2016, released today, said the company’s performance was “in line with management expectations” and signalled the end of its pub disposal programme – a four-year effort to slash its £2m debt amassed during the financial crisis.
Punch Taverns has reduced its debt by £223 million, or 16%, according to the new figures.
The UK’s second biggest pub operator also indicated its average profit per pub across the entire estate was up 4%, benefiting from the disposal of non-core pubs.
Like-for-like revenues rose by 1% and the company confirmed it expected to roll out 150 new venues per year.
Duncan Garrood, Chief Executive Officer of Punch Taverns plc, said, “We have made good progress towards delivering on the strategy we set out in November 2015. In particular, the roll-out of our Retail division is progressing well and we are accelerating the roll-out to c.150 pubs per year.”
The company also stated that the Pubs Code Regulations, which came into effect on July 2016 and effectively allowed publicans to cut the “beer tie” that had forced them to buy beer at inflated prices from certain brewers, had a short-term negative effect.
Garrood said, “The new Pubs Code Regulations has resulted in us having to re-market all lets in line with the new regulatory requirements. While this is impacting letting activity in the short-term, our expectations for the longer-term growth prospects for the business remain unchanged.
“Punch has a clear plan for the future, a strategy that is progressing well, and a unique operating model that is expected to drive improved performance over the coming years.”