Marston's has helped to lighten the gloom on the UK beer and pub sector by securing extra support from its lenders.

Marston's said today (10 December) that it has agreed a three-year extension to its bank facility with a syndicate of core lenders. 

The agreement in principle represents a vote of confidence from banks for the under-fire UK beer and pub sector.

Paul Inglett, Marston's finance director, said: "Our recently announced results demonstrated the resilience of our business model and strong cash generation in a difficult year for the industry. This extension will provide a flexible financing structure into the longer term as we continue to develop our competitive position in the market place."

Marston's said that it hopes to sign an agreement with lenders in early 2009. Under the proposed terms, the brewer's bank facility will reduce from GBP400m (US$593m) to GBP295m in August 2010 and will then run until August 2013.

The firm said it had drawn approximately GBP240m under its current facility as of 4 October.

Marston's net profit for the 53 weeks ended 4 October fell to GBP62m, down from GBP82m in 2007. Revenue rose by 2% to GBP666m.

Beer sales are at their lowest since the 1930s in the UK, with an average five pubs closing every day, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.