Joule’s, the Shropshire-based pub brewer and pub operator, has reported a 19% rise in profits for the year to 31 March.

The company generated £1.7m in the financial year and managing director Steve Nuttall told M&C he expected that to hit £2m next year.

He said the group had completed an important stage in its growth – having finished refurbishing the pubs it took on in a flurry of acquisitions between 2010 and 2014. There will now be a strategic review in the autumn to decide where further growth will come from and whether new funding streams will be needed.

Nuttall said: “We have developed from a start-up into a fairly significant player. The task we have now is to continue that growth, which gets more and more difficult to sustain every year. Our growth this year has been driven by retail and we will continue to invest in that area.”

He added: “We have had a record year and have a very exciting time ahead of us.”

The company recorded turnover of £6.2m for the year with EBITDA before project costs for the year rose to £1.7m against a budget of £1.6m.

During the year four new pubs were acquired including the opening of the first Joule’s pub in the Birmingham area (Boldmere Oak). Total investment, post refurbishment costs, stood at £1.6m.

During the year, the pub estate of 41 houses previously split into Branded Tap Houses and Unbranded Houses, was restructured with 38 now in the Retail estate. Unbranded Houses will be branded over time. The remaining three remain in the Brewing and Sales division.

The Tap estate showed particularly strong growth, generating £1.7m of contribution, £108,000 above budget. The company said: “This reflected the strong performance of the pubs acquired in the previous twelve months and growth in the existing estate. The reorganisation of the estate at the beginning of the year has allowed management to focus and rectify any under-performance.”

The Brewing and Sales division, despite a significant investment in expanding the production for its new keg lager Green Monkey, delivered a contribution of £193,000, lower than budgeted £226,000.

Brewing volume sales rose by 27% from 4,434 barrels in the previous twelve months to 5,617 barrels last year.

The company said: “Free trade continues to be difficult and highly competitive. On the back of Green Monkey, the sales team has been reinforced and significant growth is expected in the current year.”

The return on investment on the Tap and Sales estate, including renovations completed on opened pubs, averaged 15%, in line with expectations.

Net assets rose from £5.8m to £6.3m. Net debt rose from £3.6m to £3.9m. Year end balance sheet shows cash balances £742k.

The business generated an operating cash flow of £1.77m before investment, a 22% increase on the previous year.