A pub chain owned by Preston North End supremo Trevor Hemmings has announced pre-tax profits of £3m, despite a downturn in business.
Trust Inns, which is based in Chorley and has around 500 properties around the UK, increased its trading surplus by almost a third from £2.3m, according to figures for the year to March 31.
The results come in the face of a £3m fall in turnover from £52.4m in 2013 to £49.4m.
A company spokesman said that, while profits were up, market conditions “continued to be challenging.”
Trust Inns, formerly the Pub Estate Company, was founded 19 years ago with the acquisition of a “substantial” number of properties from brewers Scottish and Newcastle where Mr Hemmings was once a director and a signifcant shareholder. Over the years the company, which changed its name to Trust Inns in 2005, has grown through a programme of acquisitions, including a further 360 pubs from S&N in 1999 and 102 from Mitchells and Butler in 2006.
Its portfolio now includes a wide range of properties from traditional local pubs to city trendy centre bars, sports bars and gastro pubs.
A company statement said: “Underlying trading performance during the year was satisfactory, whilst market conditions have continued to be challenging. The company has a sound financial base and sufficient financial resources to meet the requirements of the business.”
Trust Inns’ portfolio in Lancashire includes two pubs in Preston which are currently up for rent - the Unicorn in North Road and the Eldon in Eldon Street. Mr Hemmings, who bought PNE in 2010 after years as a major shareholder, is reported to be worth £625m.