Fuller's drowns sorrows after profit slide


Brewery Fuller, Smith & Turner has revealed a 13 per cent fall in annual profits, largely attributable to the acquisition of Gales brewery.

The London Pride-brewer bought the historic brewery for £91.8 million last year, and this impacted heavily upon its own profits, which fell to £15.3 million for the year ending April 2006, compared to last year's figure of £17.6 million.

Despite revenues increasing 12 per cent to £145.1 million, share earnings were down 11 per cent to 46.40p.

But Anthony Fuller, chairman of the brewery, is still positive that the successful integration of Gales will provide a boost to profits in years to come.

"It has been an exciting year for the group with the undoubted highlight being the acquisition of Gales in December 2005 which, together with other acquisitions made during the year, has increased the size of our pub retail estate by nearly 50 per cent," he said.

The chairman claimed that the purchase of the brewery provides the firm with "more opportunity to maximise returns where appropriate by transferring pubs between the managed and tenanted estates".

"In addition, it presents excellent opportunities to expand our already successful free trade and wine divisions," Mr Fuller added.

Speaking on this morning's Today programme, Michael Turner, chief executive of Fuller's, echoed his chairman's sentiments.

"It's been a very exciting time for all the members of the team and they're certainly up for a challenge if we can give them any more challenges," he said.

Mr Turner reiterated that the acquisition of Gales had left the firm "extremely excited" about future business prospects.

But the chief executive played down suggestions that the imminent World Cup would provide the brewery with a huge increase in revenue, describing the effect as "overstated".

However, Mr Turner conceded that significant success by England "will do us extremely well", but suggested that summer sunshine would have a similar effect.

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