Punch Taverns has said it remains 'on track' to meet its expectations for the year despite a drop in first half pre-tax profits from £41m last year to £33m in the 28 weeks to 3 March 2012.
The pub company, which operates around 5,000 venues across the UK, blamed poor economic conditions on the fall in profits. EBITDA earnings for the pub company also fell to £128m from just under £140m in the same period in 2011.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside, who took over in April last year after Ian Dyson became chief executive of the demerged managed division Spirit , said despite the drop in consumer spend he was not concerned about meeting the business year-end expectations.
"Despite weaker consumer market conditions in recent months our teams have worked hard to contain costs and deliver profits in line with our expectations for the first half and we remain on track to meet our full year profit expectations," he said.
"Notwithstanding the continuing challenging climate we have a clear operational plan to return the core estate to growth in the medium-term and extract maximum value from our non-core assets. We are making progress towards our aim to become the UK’s highest quality, most trusted and best value leased pub company and are focused on creating value for our shareholders through successful long-term partnerships with our licensees in our core estate of 3,000 of the highest quality, best invested leased pubs in the country," Whiteside added.
Income per pub
Like-for-like net income for the Punch core estate dropped by 2.1 per cent in the period during which time 214 of the non-core pubs were disposed of. The disposal of the non-core pubs in the Punch estate is due to continue with between 400 and 500 venues expected to be removed in 2012.
The company is planning to invest in the estate's core pubs and increase the food sales in its sites.
Spirit Pub Company, which was demerged from Punch Taverns last year, last month reported a rise in like-for-like sales in its managed estate. Recently-appointed chief executive Mike Tye revealed the company would be continuing to introduce food to its traditionally drinks-led pubs.