Enterprise Inns nears end of its mass disposal
ENTERPRISE Inns yesterday reported a 25 per cent drop in profits but said it was well underway with its accelerated disposal programme.
The pub group posted a £53m profit for the six months to 31 March, compared to £71m for the same period last year, while revenues dropped slightly to £342m from £346m in 2011.
Enterprise said: “We have now largely completed our accelerated disposal programme of assets which do not fit the future profile of the business.”
The mass sell-off plan generated £264m from the disposal of 1,045 pubs over the two financial years to 30 September. In the first six months of the current year, it raised a further £89m – of which £10m was profit – from the sale of 131 properties.
Enterprise said it expected to deliver total disposal proceeds of around £200m for the full year, followed by £150m next year before normalising to a level around £40m-£50m per annum.
The income from the disposal scheme cut net debt to £2.9bn, compared to £3.1bn at the end of March last year.
But the board said that “given current economic uncertainty”, as well as certain restrictions from the bank borrowings arrangement, “it is not appropriate to resume the payment of dividends at this time.”
The Solihull-based company said trading continued to improve during the period, with average income per pub up 3.2 per cent and like-for-like growth in the substantive estate up 1.5 per cent. Total like-for-like income fell by 1.6 per cent – an improvement compared to the five per cent decline in the same period last year.
Enterprise Inns said it invested £39m across 1,100 pubs in the half year period.
The end of the six month period also saw Robert Walker assume the role of chairman of Enterprise Inns. Formerly chairman of WH Smith and then Travis Perkins, Walker’s appointment was announced in February.
The group’s shares dropped slightly before closing level at 66.25p.