Maclay Inns, the Scottish pub operator, says it has lifted operating profits 20% to £0.74m, helped by a tight rein on costs. The Alloa-based group, which runs 26 managed pubs across Scotland, said sales rose 2% to £10.6m in the year to 3 October 2009. Steve Mallon, managing director, said that the year had been difficult for the pub sector in Scotland, with fragile demand because of the recession making top-line growth difficult. He said: “Underlying pressure on costs added further challenges to profits, however the team at Maclay Inns responded magnificently and delivered sales growth and cost reductions.” Mallon said Maclay would invest in the current estate and add up to five pubs in 2010. The group also manages pubs fro a number of EIS vehicles such as Thistle Pubco II, which is currently raising a further £1.7m of capital.