Daniel Thwaites has grown turnover by 6% to £115.5m in the year to 31 March 2024.

In its annual financial report, posted to the Stock Exchange yesterday (19 June), the pub operator reported 4% growth in operating profit before property disposals to £11.3m. Profit before tax amounted to £9.1m, compared to £15.1m the prior year.

Net debt as at 31 March stood at £70.8m, an increase of £4.1m as a result of a larger than normal investment programme. The company had banking facilities of £82m at the ned of the year, giving headroom to its debt facilities of £11.2m.

Despite a washout summer, fine weather earlier in the financial year helped the business to get off to a good start. September and October were good months and Christmas held up to expectations before a prolonged period of wet weather until spring.

The turnover of tenanted pubs increased year on year by 8%, with EBITDA and operating profit increasing by 4%.

During the year, Daniel Thwaites sold 11 pubs and two ancillary properties with total proceeds of £3.8m. Its disposal programme has “slowed considerably” and the business remains optimistic about future prospects for closed pubs, with prospective operators reopening many of the closures.

It has completed the development of the Langdale Chase Hotel in the Lake District – the company’s largest investment in 15 years. The hotel was shut for the key trading period and a “drag to performance” this year but is now open and trading profitably, contributing to overall results.

It did not acquire any trading assets during the year despite evaluating opportunities, with valuations remaining uncertain in the current climate. Prices for high quality assets have not adjusted much despite increases in interest rates, it added.

Daniel Thwaites hopes for a more stable trading environment this year, along with the Euros presenting a good opportunity for pubs this summer.

Its inns continue to increase market share locally, while hotels benefit from a stronger corporate market.

In his statement accompanying the results, chairman Richard Bailey said: “The Company has grown and turned in a robust performance during a period of high-cost inflation and economic uncertainty. The market positioning of its managed properties towards more premium segments and the resilience of its tenanted community pubs, together with its freehold property model has prevailed.

“This last year has been one of confident investment across every area of the Company and that places us in a very strong position to move our performance forward in this current financial year. We have high expectations that, all things being equal, this coming year will be a good one.”