Fuller’s has made a “solid” start to its premium pubs and hotels business, as it released its financial results for the half year to 28 September 2019.

It said it had made £164.5m profit from the sale of its beer business to Asahi, that sales were up 6% to £174.8m and that statutory profit before tax for total Group operations was £176.2m.

Tenanted revenue increased 3%, though like for like profits dipped 3%. Like for like sales at its managed pubs and hotels were up 2.1%. Total sales were up 5.1%.

CEO Simon Emeny described the first half of the year as the “biggest transformation in Fuller’s history. It has been a time of unprecedented change – and not without its challenges – but we have made good progress and we have a clear view and plan for the next steps in our journey from vertically integrated brewer and retailer to focused premium pubs and hotels business.

“Since completing the sale of the Beer Business at the end of April, we have put a new Executive Team in place – designed for the business as it is today. We have signed a Long-Term Supply Agreement with Asahi to protect the status of Fuller’s beers on our bars, while also forging new and exciting relationships with other interesting suppliers. Post period end, we have also completed the return of capital to our shareholders and made a voluntary contribution to our defined benefit pension scheme to the tune of £69 million and £24 million respectively.

“Finally, we have secured new offices, in our Chiswick heartland, which we will move to in the spring. And to cap off the first stage in our modern history we have, post the period end, completed the excellent acquisition of Cotswold Inns & Hotels – seven iconic and beautiful freehold sites in the Cotswolds and two vibrant bars in Birmingham’s city centre.

“For the 36 weeks to 7 December 2019, like for like sales in our Managed Pubs and Hotels have risen 2.1% and total sales have increased 5.1%. In our Tenanted Inns, like for like profits are down 2%. These are solid results in the context of consumer unease reflecting the ongoing political and Brexit uncertainty.”