Profits for the year to 27 March were broadly flat. Trading profits were up 2 per cent at pounds 8.2m but pre-tax profits were down 7 per cent at pounds 5.2m.
John Young, the chairman, said the results were good considering the recession, but he is not predicting a sudden boost in his company's fortunes as the economy recovers.
He said: 'We can look forward to an improvement in our performance, but any long-term recovery will be very slow and gradual.'
An advance in trading profits converted to lower pre-tax profits because of a 12 per cent higher interest charge. The bigger bill - pounds 3m compared with pounds 2.7m - is largely due to the acquisition of HH Finch, a pub, wine bar and restaurant chain, for pounds 12m in August 1991. Shares - two thirds of which are held by the Young family or employees - were unchanged yesterday at 483p. The stock touched a 12- month low last week at 480p, but the shares have risen impressively since early 1991 when they were trading below 400p.
Earnings per share dropped to 26.4p from 27.5p. The final dividend, unchanged at 7.5p, makes a total payment of 14.5p - the same as last year.
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