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Good weather boosts Fuller's managed pubs

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 21-Jul-2009

Recent good weather has helped boost the performance of Fuller, Smith & Turner's managed pubs, while profits across its tenanted estate have dipped.


The London-based brewer said trading in the first 16 weeks of the current financial year saw like-for-like turnover in Fuller's Inns - managed pubs and hotels - up 2.9 per cent, with tenanted pubs' profits down one per cent in the same period.


Fuller's own-brewed volumes rose two per cent.


The group, which holds its AGM today, said trading has benefited from the good weather compared to the prior year.


Fuller's said its recent acquisitions, including a number of Punch Taverns-owned Spirit pubs, were performing well, while its fastest growing beer had been the "wonderfully refreshing" Organic Honey Dew.


Helped by low borrowing costs cash generation had been good, and at June 27, 2009, net debt was £112m, with net debt to EBITDA below 2.6x (proforma for the recent acquisitions).


Fuller's said the outlook for the rest of the financial year "remained difficult to judge, with so much dependent on the direction of the economy and how the consumer will react to the impending tax rises, the most significant being the increase of VAT on January 1, 2010".


But it said it had enjoyed a good first quarter "and we anticipate that we will perform at least in line with our expectations for the full year".


Fuller's shares were trading up 8.75p at 485p.

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