UK regional brewer Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (W&D) has reported strong trading in the summer period but warned that higher energy and labour costs would push up costs by GBP5m in the coming year.

In its pre-close trading statement, the company said that like-for-like sales at its 457 managed Pathfinder Pubs were up by 6.7% in June and July, boosted by good weather and the football World Cup.

Trading since the end of July had been in line with expectations, the company said, while total like-for-like sales in the second half of the year were 3.7% up on the corresponding period last year.

Analysts are forecasting profit before tax, amortisation and exceptional items for W&D of around GBP102m (US$193m) for the 52 weeks to 30 September. The brewer is scheduled to publish its full-year figures on 1 December 2006. W&D said it had bought back some 904,000 shares in August, at a cost of GBP11.8m.
Brokerage firm Panmure Gordon has raised its price target for W&D from 1325 pence to 1450 pence, and maintained its "hold" rating on the stock.
Panmure Gordon said that while other residential pub operators offered superior growth, it had increased its price target to reflect the management's willingness to buy back shares.