Eldridge Pope ignored rumours that it had been in talks with Greene King about a possible bid from the Suffolk brewer, and said that it would not dismiss the chance to buy new businesses.

As the company reported increased profits, it said it had debt facility of £80m, of which just £46m had been used, it said.

The company also outlined its strategy for holding onto the volatile youth market, focusing more on late-night licences after the success of recent openings in its Toad bar chain, as chief executive Michael Johnson said: "What we don't do with Toad is adopt a cookie-cutter approach to rolling out the brand.

"We have a certain humility in what we do, and don't believe we have all the answers just because we're doing well.

"People tend to think the youth market is fickle or fashion led, but we believe certain fundamentals prevail. The vast majority of our Toad investment is spent on sound, lighting and ventilation to create quality facilities that people will want to drink in."

Eldridge Pope's chairman, Christopher Pope, said: "To date we have secured five new Toad sites for the coming year, and we have the opportunity to develop more sites if market conditions are right. We are actively building up opportunities for the year after and beyond."

Eldridge Pope was announcing preliminary results for the year to 30 September that saw turnover up 15.1% to £66.6m and profit before tax up 30.9% to £6.1m. Operating profit before exceptionals was up 20.8% to £10.5m

and the operating margin rose to 15.8%.

Average weekly sales per pub in the ongoing business were up 29% for the year. Like-for-like, sales were up 2.7%, with like-for-like profits up 5.1%. Eldridge Pope, which has been the subject of bid speculation recently, now has 118 managed houses and 63 tenancies.

Johnson refused to comment on speculation of a takeover bid from the likes of Greene King or Robert Breare. But one analyst said it was only a matter of time before someone took over Eldridge Pope, which sold 33 pubs for £18.1m during the year.