Heavitree Brewery, the Exeter-based tenanted pub operator, has reported a 28% increase in pre-tax profit to £505k for the six months to 30 April 2016.

Turnover increased from £3.27m to £3.3m, whilst operating profit stood at £630k up 24% on the previous year.

The c70-strong operator said that in line with its expectations it had made a solid start to trading in the second half of the year and that it was “well positioned before the beginning of the summer season”.

Chairman Nicholas Tucker said: “Last year’s corresponding operating profit for the period was affected by a number of factors including some extraordinary costs such as a properties’ valuation cost before our new banking facility, an agency cost for the operation of a tenancy over the winter period plus a lack of contribution from two houses where major refurbishments were being carried out. These houses are now operational again and together with some improved rental terms on some new tenancy agreements, I am pleased to be able to report a 24% increase in operating profit on the previous year.

“In respect of the properties previously reported as being marketed for sale; the sale of one of the new houses in Topsham Road in Exeter on the former site of the Country House Inn completed on 29 June and the sale of the Hole in the Wall in Dawlish completed on 24 May. The Maltster’s Arms in Harbertonford has been taken off the market and is now open and trading after a new lease was granted to an experienced local operator.

“Having received notice from the incumbent tenant, the Carpenter’s Arms in Ilsington, a small house best suited to an owner operator, was placed on the market in April. An acceptable offer was received in very short order and the sale completed on 24 June. Work has commenced on the refurbishment of the Dolphin Inn in Torquay, which closed earlier in the year. We look forward to reopening this house in August.

“Following a long closure, development work is also planned to start shortly on the Dartmoor Halfway Inn in Bickington. When completed, both should add significantly to our income stream.”