BRITISH pub operator and brewer Greene King yesterday reported underwhelming interim results for the first of the 2015 financial year, in spite of record sales in the period.
The Suffolk-based brewer recorded a 3.5 per cent decline in profit before tax and exceptional items to £82.6m for the first half, primarily on the back of its sale of 275 pubs to Hawthorn Leisure.
Adjusting for the sale, the retained business increased profits by three per cent. In better news for the IPA brewer, sales were at a record high over the period with revenues up 3.3 per cent at £614.9m.
Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: “We have delivered record sales and strong returns against a challenging backdrop, reflecting the inherent strength of our business model and our proven strategy.”
But the sales boost only served to paper over the cracks, with Canaccord Genuity analyst Nigel Parson commenting: “Today’s slightly lacklustre interims from Greene King help to underline the importance of the Spirit Pub acquisition in our view.” Greene King agreed the £774m takeover of rival Spirit Pubs in November.