Brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has seen a 63% rise in pre-tax profit in the year to 28 January 2006 after the sale of its soft drinks division.
The company, based in Blandford Forum, Dorset, saw turnover dip 12.9% to £82.2m after the sale but pre-tax profit rose to £11.7m.
ProfitsProfits were helped by an increase from £1.4m to £3.8m in the value of property disposals.
Hall & Woodhouse spent £19.8m in the year compared to £13.5m the previous year.
The majority of the spend went on 12 freehold pubs and refurbishment projects.
Numbers of staff employed in the brewing part of the business fell from 462 to 245 following the sale of the soft drinks business.
BorrowingsTotal net borrowings were £44.9m compared to £41.3m the year before.
Chairman Lord Rockley said: "In the year a large number of employees left the business. The company endeavoured to reduce the hardship through a number of initiatives, including the establishment of a significant training fund.
Gratitude"Employees' attitudes to this change have been exemplary and again I wish to put on record the board's gratitude for hard work and commitment during the year."
Lord Rockley reported that the company's proposed new brewery has been selected as a pilot scheme for the Deputy Prime Minister's proposed changes in planning procedures.
Right decisionHe added: "Exiting the soft drinks business was a very difficult decision but the results for the year have shown it was the right one.
"We believe that by focusing our resources behind the building of our freehold pub estate we will be able to deliver growing returns to our shareholders."
Total dividend to shareholders was 304p, an increase of 11.8% on the year before.