The Financial Week Ahead – Inn the money.

Enterprise Inns, due to announce full-year results on Tuesday, is doing its best to preserve the great British pub by snapping up pubs and allowing tenants to run them in accordance with local traditions.

Unlike other owners who directly manage pubs, Enterprise prefers to concentrate on leased or tenanted pubs, giving tenants more freedom.

The company was founded in 1991 by chartered accountant Ted Tuppen, 47, now chief executive, and a group of investors. The Solihull-based company now has nearly 2,500 pubs across the UK.

It was set up to exploit the government’s 1989 ‘Beer Orders’, new competition rules which radically altered the shape of the pub and brewing landscape as brewers were forced to offload pubs in the hope of increasing competition.

In 1999 the company took over rival Century Inns, which gave it an additional 500 pubs, and subsequently purchased a further 215 from Bass. Now, market conditions mean some of the major players are looking to either slim down or quit the pub industry.

In October Whitbread announced it was to focus on restaurants, hotels and sports clubs, leaving plenty of opportunity for the likes of Enterprise – one of several chains likely to benefit by picking up more pubs from Whitbread’s sale of its 3,000 pub collection.

Any move will follow Enterprise’s purchase of 183 pubs from Whitbread for £115m in May, selling 35 to Olivegrange Ltd for £50m. At the same time it announced interim results of pre-tax profit of £22.7m on a turnover of £75.3m. It then picked up another 20 pubs in the south-east after acquiring Famous Pubs for £3.8m.

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