Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries has posted a rise in half-year profits and said it is on the acquisition hunt going forward. The regional brewer today announced a 5.3% rise in profits for the 26 weeks to 27 March, to £31.7m.

Sales at the company's 473 managed pubs rose by 2.8% year-on-year. The rise in sales continued at the same rate into April and May, thanks to investment in its pubs and strong food like-for-like sales of just over 6%.

"We have kept the trading momentum going, driven by our investment programme and strong food sales and helped by generally favourable economic conditions," chief executive Ralph Findlay said.

The brewer added that it was looking to purchase around 20 managed pubs a year. "We look at any acquisition opportunities if they fit our business model and meet our earnings growth and return on capital criteria," Findlay told Reuters in an interview following the results.

Findlay said the group had around £150m (US$267.8m) of what he termed "headroom" after a re-financing earlier this year, and could gear up for any attractive pub acquisition opportunities.