Shepherd Neame has said since July, “nearly all” its pubs have reopened and are trading “successfully”. In a trading update it said in the 13 weeks since 4 July the business has been “profitable and cash generative”.

Net debt at the year-end was £84.4m with an additional £11m of tax liabilities that had been deferred in agreement with HMRC.

As at 26 September net debt was £82.4m with the tax liabilities that had been deferred reduced to £5.7m with a further £1.2m of general deferrals. It said liquidity is “sufficient for the foreseeable future”.

Like-for-like sales in the 64 managed pubs and hotels that were open for this period were down 7.9%.

For the thirteen weeks to 26 September, it hit 73% of prior year Tenanted Pub income.

Own Brand Beer and Cider volumes since the start of the new financial year were down 1.9% versus last year.

“We anticipate that trading during the winter months will be challenging as the new restrictions, such as the rule of six and 10pm curfew, impact business and consumer confidence, but we welcome the extension of the reduced VAT rate of 5% until March 2021,” it said.

Results for the year ending 27 June 2020 will be announced on 4 November with the AGM to be held on Wednesday 2 December.