Young's & Co is celebrating a bright half-year, with profit boosted by the sale of its Wandsworth brewery in the period.

The UK brewer and pub operator said today (16 November) that pre-tax profit for the six months to 30 September soared to GBP42.7m (US$80.67m) from GBP4.3m in the corresponding period a year earlier. Young's sold its Ram Brewery in the Wandsworth area of London in August for GBP69m.

Stripping out the sale, operating profit for the half was down slightly at GBP5.8m against GBP6.05m a year ago. Revenue increased, however, to GBP69.1m from GBP62.5m.

Company chief executive, Stephen Goodyear noted that Young's has found it difficult to compete in a fast consolidating sector, but highlighted that the business has been supported by a good summer and has delivered a strong retail performance in the first half.

"Trading in our pubs has been strong in the first half, and this trend has continued in the second half with managed house total sales for the first six weeks up 21.9% and up 10.6% on an invested like-for-like basis," said Goodyear. "We have the management, operational infrastructure and financial resources in place to continue this growth. We look forward to the future with considerable confidence."

While turnover in the retail business - which comprises 221 pubs - was up by 12.7%, the managed pubs division - consisting of 116 pubs - saw an increase in turnover of 15.2%.

Goodyear concluded by announcing that the company has substantial headroom for funding acquisitions, which will be focused in the existing trading areas of London and Southern England.

Young's announced in May that it was merging its brewing operations with regional brewer Charles Wells to form Wells & Young's Brewing Co., in which Charles Wells will hold a 60% stake and Young's the remaining 40%. Young's said at the time that it will continue to operate separately as a pub retailer.