Fuller’s, the London-based brewer and pub operator, has this morning reported a 3.9% rise in like-for-like sales across its managed pubs and hotels division for the 26 weeks to 1 October 2011. The company said that its tenanted pub division had its “best ever first half” with like-for-like profits up 1%. Total revenues grew by 6% to £128.2m, while adjusted pre-tax profit increased by 5% to £16.5m. Ebitda in the half year climbed 4% to £25m. The group signed a new agreement with Rabobank in August on an additional £30m of bank facilities. Following this agreement, it had in excess of £50m undrawn committed banking facilities at the end of the period. Its total bank facilities now stand at £120m, split equally between four banks and run until May 2015. It said that the additional funds would allow it to “invest in new opportunities as they arise”. Acquired pubs increased total revenues across its managed pubs and hotels by 5% to £78.6m. Operating profits before exceptional items grew by 1% to £10.4m, while Ebitda grew by 2% to £14.7m. It said that like-for-like food sales in the division increased 4.4%, with a 3% rise in the number of main meals sold. Room sales in its 166-strong managed pubs and hotels estate increased 10.8% on a like-for-like basis, with occupancy and average room rate both up 4% driven by investment in rooms in existing sites. Revenue across its 195-strong tenanted inns business increased by 1% to £13.7m, with like-for-like profits up 1%. With a first time contribution from acquisitions, operating profit before exceptional items increased by 2% to £5.2m and average Ebitda per pub grew by 5.5%. Own brewed beer volumes in the 26-week period improved by 2%, with operating profit up by 12% at £4.6m. The group said that division had delivered “an excellent performance in an extremely tough UK market”, driven by another period of “very strong growth” in export sales. The beer company reported revenue of 7% to £54.9m for the period, with total beer volumes up by 1% as foreign beer volumes were level with last year. Operating costs rose 7%, which the group said was due to increases in UK excise duty, raw materials and packaging costs. The company’s net debt increased by £4m in the first 26 weeks, after it spent £19.3m on purchasing seven pubs and investing across its business. The group added 12 pubs to its estate during the year. Seven of these sites were freehold properties, nine were in London and all are in its core trading geography. Three of the pubs joined its tenanted inns business and the remainder are now part of its managed pubs and hotels division. In the 33 weeks to 19 November, the group said that like-for-like sales across its managed pubs and hotels grew by 3.8%, while own beer volumes increased by 1%. It 12 completed pub acquisitions – the group’s highest level of investment since the acquisition of Gales in 2005. The group said it was also nearing the completion of the £4.5m investment in its Chiswick brewery site. It said it expects to spend in excess of £51m on capital projects in this financial year. Michael Turner, chairman of Fuller's, said: “These results highlight the successful execution of our long term strategy, which has remained unchanged despite the economic pressures on the UK consumer. "Our balance sheet remains very strong and having increased our bank facilities to £120m during the period we have additional funds available to invest in new opportunities as they arise. Our strategy is to be highly selective and we have the patience to wait for the right assets to become available at the right price.”