Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries has posted a fall in full-year net profit.

The UK regional and pub operator said today (2 December) that net profit for the year to 1 October plunged by 85% year-on-year to GBP3.5m (US$6.1m). The fall was blamed on refinancing costs of GBP30m. W&D noted, however, that it had successfully integrated Burtonwood, Jennings Brothers, and English Country Inns ahead of schedule and had exceeded expected synergy benefits.

While turnover rose by 7.4% year-on-year to GBP551.8m, pretax profit before goodwill and exceptional items was also up, to GBP90.1m from GBP77.7m.

"Our results were achieved by continuing to manage cost pressures and improve operational efficiency, combined with an absolute focus on delivering quality and value to our customers," said Ralph Findlay, W&D's chief executive. "As a result, we were able to deliver good organic growth whilst acquiring businesses that met our stringent acquisition criteria.

"Although weaker consumer confidence has produced more subdued trading conditions since the year-end, like-for-like sales are marginally positive against strong comparables in both pub divisions and our performance overall is in line with our expectations. Margins remain firm and costs well-controlled."

A final dividend of 25.66 pence per share was proposed, bringing the total dividend to 38.86p per share, an increase from 2004's 35.32p.