The operator published its trading update ahead of its annual general meeting this morning.
It said its trading performance during the first 18 weeks of the financial year has been in line with expectations and it was encouraging that positive like-for-like net income has been delivered despite the more challenging comparatives of last year. The company said trading over the Christmas period was positive although it reported a softening in the volume of beer ordered during January.
Enterprise reported that there it had seen a further reduction in the level of business failures in the last 18 weeks.
On the pubs code debate, the company said: “We are working with the industry and Government to ensure that the planned legislation does not lead to unintended consequences, whilst delivering a workable solution for our publicans, ETI and the industry as a whole.
“As a direct response to the planned legislation we are reviewing our capital investment plans for the current year. Our previous guidance of capital investment of £70m for the full year remains unchanged. However, given that the planned regulatory changes may increase the uncertainty of returns from investments made into longer-term agreements, we are diverting an increased proportion of capital investment into similarly attractive opportunities from shorter-term agreements. “
The company said that at this point its guidance for disposal proceeds of £60m for the full year also remains unchanged although the scale of future asset disposals will be subject to further review.
Chief executive Simon Townsend: “We are pleased to have maintained the positive momentum delivered last year into the first 18 weeks of the current financial year and remain focused on continuing this progress.
“We continue to believe the tie offers the best operating model for the vast majority of our pubs with our interests closely aligned to those of our publicans. Whilst the planned legislation may require us to evolve our business model over the longer term, until the detail of the legislation is clear and enacted, we remain focused on providing exceptional local support to our publicans to aid their profitability which, in turn, will enhance our performance.”