Shepherd Neame has reported a fall in turnover to £55.3m for the six months to 26 December 2020, from £79m for the comparable to the first half of 2020.

Underlying operating loss was £3.6m compared to a profit of £8m, while statutory loss before tax stood at £7.2m, compared to a profit of £5.4m for H1 2020.

The family brewer and pub operator said the period including strong trading over the summer months, but the changing levels of restriction and then enforced closure towards the end of the year had “a significant impact” on its financial results.

However Shepherd Neame saw bottled beer volume growth of 25.7%, and said that tight cost controls had restricted underlying month cash burn to between £1.5m to £2m while pub estate was closed.

Net debt as at 27 March 2021 was £96.5m (27 June 2020: £84.4m) giving headroom of £36.0m.

The business agreed new waivers with lenders on 20 April 2021, with normal covenant tests relaxed through to September 2022, giving it ample liquidity for the foreseeable future, it said.

Shepherd Neame reopened 200 of its pub gardens on 12 April and said initial trade levels were encouraging.

Jonathan Neame, CEO of Shepherd Neame, said: “There are still many challenges to face and a long road to full recovery, but the balance sheet remains strong and we have ample liquidity.

“The relationship with our licensees is excellent and our reputation for beer and pubs is strong. We look forward with confidence to returning Shepherd Neame back to growth.”