Greene King profits top £1bn mark

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PUB firm Greene King has reported record half-year revenue topping £1bn, but warned of a ‘more challenging’ consumer environment as regulatory costs and weaker economic growth hit the industry.

Group revenue rose 13.8 per cent to £1.04bn in the 24 weeks to October 16 – boosted in part by the ahead-of-schedule integration of its newly acquired Spirit Pub Company.

Greene King, which brews beers like Old Speckled Hen and Belhaven Best and has pubs in the Portsmouth region, bought the rival company in a deal worth £774m last year, creating one of the largest pub groups in Britain.

It helped statutory pre-tax profit rise nine per cent to £92.5m.

However, the company said both economic and regulatory challenges could hit the balance sheet.

The pubs group and brewer said it was working with trade organisations to urge the government to offset some of the impact from initiatives like National Living Wage, National Minimum Wage, Apprenticeship Levy and proposed increases to business rates, which are expected to have an impact on costs and margins.

Those cost pressures could heap further pain on top of the effects of a weaker economy and softer discretionary spending in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Chief executive Rooney Anand said: ‘The full impact of the UK decision to leave the EU remains unclear.

‘However, we are confident that the strength of our brands, pubs, people and cash generation leaves us well placed to deliver another year of progress, value creation and returns for our shareholders.’

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