The West Midlands-based leased pubco revealed like-for-like income per pub for the Enterprise Inns substantive estate was up on the same period a year ago, while the same figures for the entire estate were down less than 2 per cent. The income from the substantive estate represents 95 per cent of total pub income for the company.
Enterprise Inns admitted the announced boost in trade benefited from the poor figures pubs across the industry had recorded during the poor weather conditions in December a year earlier. The weather had, the company revealed, cost almost £2m in operating profit.
Improved income figures for pubs were boosted by the disposal of under-performing pubs as well as stronger pub performance generally, Enterprise Inns said.
The company, formed in 1991, reported in their interim management statement that the disposal of poorly performing assets was now complete but there would be a number of pub sales in the coming months.
"Our property team has identified for sale a number of exceptional properties which can realise substantial cash proceeds above book value and we expect to complete a number of such sales during the next two years. During the current financial year, we now estimate that total proceeds from all asset disposals, including normal churn of under-performing assets, will be between £150m and £200m, with a broadly similar programme planned for the following year," Enterprise Inns said.
In the current financial year Enterprise Inns has sold 63 pubs raising £40m and generating profit of £2m. In addition, BigHospitality reported earlier this month that the brewer and pubco Fuller's was purchasing 15 pubs in a deal worth nearly £23m.
Robert Walker, currently chairman of Travis Perkins and Americana International Holdings, will replace Hubert Reid as chairman at the end of March after Reid spent 15 years in the position. Acknowledging the poor economic climate the sector had faced in recent times, Walker said the fundamentals of the Enterprise Inns business were strong.
"Enterprise is an excellent business and while the sector as a whole has been through difficult market conditions recently, Enterprise has a clear strategy and direction. I am very much looking forward to working with my new executive and non-executive colleagues on the Board to deliver value for our shareholders," he said
Walker was previously chairman of WH Smith and also spent 30 years with Proctor & Gamble, McKinsey and PepsiCo.
Last year Enterprise Inns announced trade had stabilised and were working hard to reduce borrowing. In the most recent statement, the company has said bank borrowings have continued to fall and expect to continue expansion of the successful Beacon managed tenancy format.
Concluding their interim management statement Enterprise Inns said they would be working to increase value from freehold properties in the next year and repeated calls to cut the beer duty escalator.