Hydes, the Manchester brewer and pub operator, has recorded a 38% rise in underlying annual pre-tax profits fuelled by growth in its free trade business. Earnings for the year to 28 March 2010 rose from £2.41m to £3.34m with revenues up by 2.4% to £23.3m. Like-for-like sales at its managed pubs grew 2% - with profits up 2.6% - but turnover at its tenanted pubs dropped. The sale of two under-performing pubs helped reduce net debt to under £5m in the first quarter. Freetrade revenues rose strongly. Chris Hopkins, managing director, said: “Looking forward, the business is confident in its managed houses and sees a good future for the majority of tenancies. “There are still some tenanted sites earmarked for disposal but equally Hydes is now actively seeking acquisitions of both managed and tenanted houses and is keen to exploit the attractive buying prices which are currently available.”