Punch Taverns, the leased and managed pub operator, this morning reported that full-year trading was in line with its expectations. The group added that “excellent progress” had been made towards reorganising and increasing the quality of its core estate. Like-for-like turnover across its leased estate, which comprised 7,846 sites at the year end, was up 1.0%, while average turnover per pub increased by 2.7%. Like-for-like sales across Spirit, which it acquired on 5 January this year, increased by 3.6% in the 32 weeks since acquisition. Giles Thorley, chief executive of Punch, said: “This has been a very active year where we have significantly upgraded the quality of the pub estate through investment, acquisition and disposal. Our pubs continue to trade well and offer excellent prospects for continued growth.” The company added 96 pubs to its leased estate through a combination of acquisition, and conversion of sites from Spirit Group. It has also disposed of 551 smaller outlets during the year. Punch has sold or agreed for sale 382 sites from the acquired estate of 1,830 managed pubs, at prices it said exceeded its original expectations. The company completed the sale of 290 former Spirit pubs to GI Partners, the US private equity firm, for £571m in June, making a £114m profit on the sites. Earlier this month, it agreed to sell Old Orleans, the bar and restaurant chain, which comprises 31 sites, to Regent Inns for £26m. A further 61 individual or small group sales have also taken place during the period. Punch is due to put the final package of 278 pubs from Spirit on the market at the end of this month. The company is expected to complete the transfer of the all the sites to leased over the next six to 12 months. The group said it had completed its modifications to the division’s debt facilities, increased its asset management flexibility, and renegotiated a number of supply contracts onto a group wide basis. Punch said it continued to prepare for the anticipated smoking ban in England and Wales next summer, and that it had learned valuable lessons from its experience of consumers’ reaction in its Scottish estate of pubs, where the ban was introduced on 26 March. The company said it continued to support its retailers with training programmes, business initiatives and investment, with 950 leased pubs benefiting from investment in the past year.