Scotland business

Dunbar brewer Belhaven makes record profits

Dunbar-based brewer Belhaven has made record profits for the first half of the financial year.

The company said operating profits rose by 10.1% year-on-year to £17.5m, while revenues leapt by 5.8% to £76.4m.

Belhaven's parent company Greene King saw turnover climb by 4.2% to £484.1m, while pre-tax profits rose by 17.1% to £73.1m.

The news comes as Greene King prepares to integrate Belhaven fully into the parent company early next year.

Greene King said the move would create a "more streamlined organisational structure" that would deliver a lower cost base.

In its interim statement, the company said: "Belhaven is a great success story and makes a strong contribution to Greene King.

"We continue to invest in our brewing and brands business in Scotland.

"In the period we increased support behind Belhaven Best and repositioned brand spend toward media advertising, while we are investing £750,000 in the brewery at Dunbar to increase capacity and improve efficiency."

'Distinctive character'

It added: "We intend to retain the distinctive character of our operations in Scotland and the Belhaven brand will continue to prosper through our continued investment and its strong relationship with our licensees and trade partners."

Over the six months to October, Belhaven saw substantial growth in its retail side, with sales of coffee up by 13% and wine by 12.6%.

Food now accounts for 31% of sales, up from 9% in 2005, when the brewery was bought by Greene King for £187m.

The number of pubs managed or tenanted by Belhaven in Scotland fell by one over the six-month period to 333.

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