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Greene King has warm summer to thank for success.

Regional brewer and pubs group Greene King yesterday gave a buoyant update on summer trading following an eight per cent jump in annual profits in July.

The company which brews Greene King IPA, Abbot Ale and Old Speckled Hen beers and owns nearly 1,700 pubs in Southern England, said beer volumes rose six per cent in the first 12 weeks of its new financial year.

Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King said trade exceeded expectations across all areas of the business, boosted by the summer heatwave.

Updating shareholders at the company's annual meeting chief executive Tim Bridge said sales of Greene King IPA were up one per cent, while Abbot Ale rose four per cent and Old Speckled Hen sales raced 17 per cent ahead.

Demand for both Abbot and Old Speckled has also surged in recent months following a sustained marketing campaign by the company.

Mr Bridge said: 'Investment in our pub estate is continuing to improve the quality of our outlets and to strengthen our competitive position.' In the pub, division like-for-like sales rose by 1.2 per cent in pubs not yet refurbished and, excluding the Golden Jubilee weekend last year, 5.1 per cent in those that have been revamped.

The tenanted Pub Partners also increased turnover by 3.9 per cent in the 12 week period. Greene King has agreed to buy ten new properties since May, which it will develop under its various fascias, including seven under the Hungry Horse brand and two as Old English Inns. One will be let by Pub Partners.

The upbeat trading statement follows a similar buoyant announcement in July, when Greene King reported record annual profits of pounds 75 million, accompanied by a confident outlook for the year ahead.

Before yesterday's announcement analysts were look for an improvement to between pounds 79 million and pounds 88 million. Mr Bridge said: 'We remain confident we can continue to generate additional value for shareholders.'

Shares were down 8p at 854p.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 30, 2003
Words:330
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