Easter like-for-like volume sales were up by 4.6% against the 2018 Easter weekend, driven by good weather and strong trading from the Chef & Brewer brand, which recorded like-for-like volume sales of 15.3%.
The group’s tenanted and leased arm Pub Partners’ like-for-like net income for the 52 weeks was up 1.6% while like-for-like profit was down by 1.4%.
In its Brewing & Brands arm, total beer volumes were up 0.9% and own-brewed volumes were down 3.4% while the overall UK ale market was down 4.2%.
During the second half of the financial year, Greene King made further progress on its debt refinancing plan.
By the year end, it had repaid £393m or 51% of the Spirit debenture, while it tapped the Greene King funding for £250m at 3.6%, creating headroom within its revolving credit facility for future bond repayments from the debenture.
It predicted it will limit net cost inflation this year to between £10m and £20m and for full-year profit before tax, non-underlying and exceptional items to be between £244m and £247m.
Outgoing CEO Rooney Anand said: “We have traded strongly this year and have returned to market outperformance.
“As I hand over to my successor Nick Mackenzie, with our strong pub and beer brands, talented and dedicated team and high-quality estate, Greene King is well positioned to make further progress and continue outperforming the market.”
Greene King announced the boss of leisure company Merlin Entertainments Mackenzie would be replacing Anand as chief executive in January 2019.
Anand was managing director of Greene King Brewing Company before succeeding Tim Bridge as chief executive in 2004 after joining the Greene King board in 2001.
During his 14 years, the Suffolk-based brewer and operator has grown from 1,988 pubs (800 managed), turnover of £732m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £190m in 2005 to more than 2,800 pubs (1,700 managed), turnover of £2.2bn last year and EBITDA of £487m.
The company team has also grown significantly from employing 16,000 to 39,000 people in the same period.