The investments, during Enterprise’s current financial year and costing typically £5,000 to £10,000, will be made in time for the summer, with “an awful lot” completed by Easter.
Tuppen told the Publican's Morning Advertiser sister title M&C Report: “Now we have the pub estate beginning to be in the condition where we want to be able to use capex in a positive and business-building manner, whereas in some ways [in the past] it has been more defensive.”
Total capital expenditure this financial year will be £50-60m. A handful of projects costing between £200,000 and £400,000 are “on site”.
This year is likely to be the last when the firm undertakes major disposals, Tuppen said.
He said this year Enterprise was looking to dispose of “broadly” 300 to 400 “under-performing” pubs, with perhaps 40 to 50 top-end sites, generating proceeds of £40m.
Of the 122 pubs sold or in the hands of solicitors in the 17 weeks to 26 January, 102 were from the tail end, generating £31m, or circa £300,000 per site on average. High-end disposals amount to £18m, or an average of circa £900,000 each.
Enterprise reported a 4.4% decline in like-for-like net income, equivalent to £5m, in the 17 weeks, in what the company called “exceptional trading conditions” — extreme weather reduced income by circa £1.5m.
Tuppen said comparatives were “difficult” in October because of the Indian summer in 2011. Trading over Christmas was “a little bit late starting”, but “very strong” when it arrived.
Enterprise announced the appointment of Peter Baguley, who headed property functions at Sainsbury's and Boots, as a non-executive director. It has also signed a two-year distribution agreement with Carlsberg.