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Young's sees profits dive after writing down the value of its pub chain by 11m

BREWER and pubs veteran Young &amp; Co yesterday said that full year pre-tax profit had plummeted by 63 per cent, as cash-strapped consumers opt to drown their sorrows at home.<br /><br />Profit before tax for the year ending 28 March fell to &pound;4.2m from &pound;11.6m the year before.<br /><br />Revenues were up 3.2 per cent to &pound;126.1m but earnings were hit after the group wrote down the value of its pubs by almost &pound;11m.<br /><br />&ldquo;Market conditions remain difficult, not least as a result of rising unemployment,&rdquo; said Young&rsquo;s.<br /><br />The group was also hit by yet another increase in excise duty &ndash; with tax on beer surging by 20 per cent in just over a year, although it declared a final dividend of 6.63p a share, two per cent higher than last time.<br /><br />The increase in excise duty, along with the rising cost of malt and hops took their toll on margings.<br /><br />Chief executive Stephen Goodyear said: &ldquo;We have a cash-generative business, well-invested estate, great pubs in great locations, a robust balance sheet and a very strong brand. We are well positioned to meet the challenges of the year ahead.&rdquo;