Fuller, Smith & Turner,  the Chiswick-based brewer and hospitality business, today reported H1 sales up 6% to £146.3 million, and pre-tax profits up 8% to £18.1 million.

The growth was powered by it's 174 own managed properties and an 11.8% LFL food sales growth during the period.

The brewery business is fickle, tastes change and at present beer sales are down. Fullers don't say by how much directly, but own beer and cider volumes are down 2% yet the own cider volume increased from zero as during the year Fullers bought Cornish Orchards and has since increased it's capacity by 60%.

Fullers, like other pubcos has been disposing of it's wet-led tenanted estate and investing in large managed pub /restaurants. It has identified a further ten pubs for disposal and two have already sold. Fullers has clearly written down the value of these tenanted pubs aggressively because the two that have been sold made £2 million in total, which was £1.4 million above their book value.

New properties are being developed,  the £3.4 million Cams Mill on the estuary in Fareham which opened recently and One Over the Ait at Kew Bridge which is being fitted out, are typical of their new breed of energy efficient attractive locations.

Simon Emeny, the new CEO said:

"I am pleased to report a strong first half for the Group with adjusted profit before tax growing 8% to £18.1 million and our adjusted earnings per share increasing 9% to 24.79p.

"The second half has started well and the underlying momentum which characterised our trading in the first half has continued over the last seven weeks, with Managed Pubs and Hotels like for like sales up 7.8% over the 33 weeks. Our London and South East based portfolio of well invested quality pubs, a strong balance sheet and consistent long term strategy leave us well placed for the future as we continue to invest in our people, our pubs and our brands.  We remain confident of another year of progress for the Group."

The firm has a strong balance sheet with modest debt, which decreased during the period by £4.2 million, to £131.4 million.

Shares in FS&T closed last night at  990.5p which values the firm at £322 million.