Fuller, Smith & Turner (FST) has reported a 6% rise in underlying profits.

For the 53 weeks to the beginning of April, the London-based regional brewer and pub operator recorded profit before tax and exceptional items and after interest of GBP17.8m, up from GBP16.9m last year, on turnover 5% higher at GBP147.5m. However, after one-off gains on asset disposals, pretax profit fell by 6% to GBP18m.

Fullers said growth was seen across all of its businesses, with profits at the beer division - Fuller's Beer Company - up by 5%, on the back of a 2% rise in volumes.

"The beer company continues to perform well in an increasingly competitive market," FST chairman, Anthony Fuller said. "We are very excited about our new brand, Discovery Blonde Beer, and current volumes support our optimism."

Some eight new pubs, acquired during the year, had also contributed to earnings growth, the company said. More acquisitions are planned for the current year.

The family-owned company said it was confident about its performance in the current financial year. Anthony Fuller said all areas of its retail estate were performing well and current trading was "on target."
"In these more challenging times, Fuller's is delivering consistent year-on-year growth and excellent returns for shareholders," Fuller said. "I have confidence this will be maintained in the current year."