Capital Pub Company shrugs off the gloom as sales lift in London boozers

CAPITAL Pub Company, which runs a chain of non-branded pubs in London, yesterday provided a glimmer of hope for the pubs sector&nbsp; by reporting a seven per cent lift in pre-tax profits to &pound;2.1m.<br /><br />The group, which owns a portfolio including the Anglesea Arms in South Kensington and The Marquis of Granby on Shaftesbury Avenue, said revenue for the year to end-March increased five per cent to &pound;19.8m.<br /><br />Aim-listed Capital Pub Company is&nbsp; run by David Bruce &ndash; who sold the Firkin chain of pubs for &pound;6.6m in 1998 before starting the Slug and Lettuce chain &ndash; and is currently weathering the pub sector slump better than others.<br /><br />It said; &ldquo;The group has maintained the high quality of its pubs and its main priority is to continue to increase turnover in its existing operations coupled with an ongoing focus on tight cost control.&rdquo;<br /><br />Chairman James Bruxner yesterday said the group had decided to scrap its dividend this year to pay down debt, which currently stands at &pound;29m.<br /><br />Broker Altium yesterday said the results were ahead of expectations on all lines, and that it was encouraged by the resilience of the London market.<br /><br />&ldquo;We therefore feel that the group is well positioned for another year of outperformance,&rdquo; said Altium.<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s shares yesterday lifted by 3.45 per cent to 60p.