Adnams, the UK brewer and pub owner, has spent 2009 clawing back some of the profits lost following a slide in earnings and sales in 2008.

Net profits for the 12 months to the end of December reached GBP2.3m (US$3.4m), more than double the GBP1m achieved by the brewer, wine and pub group in 2008, Adnams said today (25 March).

But, the Suffolk-based firm's earnings remained low compared to profits of nearly GBP7m in 2007.

Adnams' difficulty in recovering lost ground highlights the tough period facing the UK pub and drinks sector.

However, the firm's net sales for 2009 rose to GBP51.3m, up by GBP4m on sales in both 2008 and 2007. Beer volume sales for the Adnams brand rose by 4%, significantly outperforming a UK beer market down mid-single digits over the last year.

"2008 was a difficult year for Adnams, but some of the investments that we made and the tough decisions that we took that year are bearing fruit in an improved performance," said executive chairman Jonathan Adnams.

"Operating profits more than doubled to GBP3.2m, from GBP1.5m a year ago. This revival was realised against a backdrop of considerable economic uncertainty," he said.
 
In the firm's outlook, Adnams said that cold weather at the start of 2010 has "set us back a little at the start of what looks like a very uncertain year". He said that the group is cautious on the year, but is investing for the longer term.