Belhaven Group has posted a rise in full-year pretax profit. The pub group said today (6 June) that profit rose to GBP17.428m, compared with a profit of $14.231m last year. Turnover also increased for the 12-month period to 3 April, to GBP114.4m from GBP94.9m in the corresponding period a year earlier.

In a statement, chief executive Stuart Ross said: "Levels of trading and profitability in the first two months of the new financial year have been in line with internal expectation.

"Consumer spending patterns remain inconsistent and market conditions are as challenging as they were last year. Belhaven has a resilient business model which has stood the test of time and my colleagues and I are confident that we will achieve our immediate aim of delivering a sixteenth year of uninterrupted growth.

"The outlook beyond March 2006 is less certain. It is not possible to predict the impact on the turnover of pubs as a result of the proposed ban on smoking in licensed premises and Belhaven does not expect to be immune from the general effect. The smoking ban represents a major cultural change for Scottish people and presents both opportunities and threats for the pub industry. Our management team will be highly focused on mitigating the threats and maximising the opportunities."

Chairman Angus Meldrum said: "Belhaven has a clear strategy which has been consistently and successfully applied for many years; our primary objective remains to grow our position of importance in the Scottish licensed trade, within the framework of an integrated regional brewer.

"Despite the uncertainty inevitably created by the proposed ban on smoking in licensed premises in Scotland, we remain confident that our strategy will continue to deliver success for the business and all its stakeholders. We will be adapting our pub estate to optimise our position within the context of the new regulatory framework."