Record breaking results for Greene King

Pubs and brewing group Greene King defied the economic gloom today by announcing record-breaking first-half results.

The Bury St Edmunds-based company reported a 5.1pc increase in operating profit for the 24 weeks to October 16 to �115.6m ? its best-ever figure for the first half of its financial year.

The figure was achieved on revenues up 9pc at �527.5m, with pre-tax profits before exceptional items coming in 5.6pc ahead at �77.2m.

Growth was led by the group's retail business, consisting of directly managed pubs and restaurants, which saw a 4pc increase like-for-like sales, including 16pc growth in food, and a 10pc rise in operating profit.

However, the group's leased and tenanted pubs division achieved a 3pc increase in average earnings per pub while its brewing and brands business recorded a 2pc rise in own-brewed volumes and a 4pc increase in profits.

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: 'This is another record set of results for Greene King, delivering strong sales, profit and earnings growth in a difficult consumer environment.

He added: 'Falling consumer confidence and the weaking of the UK economic recovery suggest that we will face another tough trading environment in 2010.

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'Despite this, there are still significant opportunities for growth, and we believe our strategy to grow our retail estate and our share of the eating out market will help us to maintain our track record of strong earnings and dividends.'