The UK's largest independent brewer Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries has seen its full year net profit fall 7.7%, the company said today. Net profit reached £38.5m from £41.7m a year ago.

The company said it was hit by a £1.8m loss on the disposal of several of its high street pubs. However sales also fell 3% to £490.5m.

Despite the figures and continued cost pressure, though, W&D said the new financial year had started well.

For the first eight weeks of the new financial like-for-like turnover grew by 5% at its tenanted Union Pubs estate, while the underlying gain from the managed Pathfinder hostelries was 3.1%.

"Having established a strong position in our core businesses, we now aim to invest more in new pubs, sites and refurbishments that fit our business model," said chief executive Ralph Findlay.