Enterprise Inns, the UK’s biggest pub chain, has announced a 32% jump in profits before tax and exceptionals to £305.6m, from turnover up 29% to £919.9m. Adjusted earnings per share were up a third to 63.2p while average profit per pub, 8,590 in all, rose by 8%.
The company has held out the prospect of big cash handouts to shareholders as it shifts its focus away from the acquisition-led strategy of the last decade towards shedding its less-profitable pubs and investing in its top-end outlets. Ted Tuppen, chief executive, said, ³Our view is that if we can¹t make a go of it as a pub, then I doubt anyone else can.²
Enterprise intends to return at least £200m in the current financial year via a share buyback. It has lifted the 2005 dividend by 50% and promises a further big increase in 2006.