The family-run company made capital expenditure investments of £10.8m including the acquisition of six new freehold pubs and hotels.
These were The Bear’s Paw Chester, The Crown Inn Lymm, The Frog & Railway Heaton Moor, The Groes Inn Conwy, The Hanging Gate Weaverham and The Vale Royal Abbey Arms Delamere.
Four pubs were sold in the year yielding a small profit of £75,000 and major refurbishments of over £50,000 were carried out at 72 sites.
Because of this increased level of investment EBITDA fell by £1.1m (11.8%) to £8.2m, with operating profit falling by £869,000 (13.2%) to £5.7m and pre-tax profit (excluding property disposals) falling by £617,000 (10.7%) to £5.1m.
However, the company nevertheless paid out £217,000 in profit share to colleagues working in the business in recognition for their contribution during the year.
William Lees-Jones, Managing Director, said: “2017 has been a year of positive growth for JW Lees and we are laying the foundations for the next chapter of our family business as we approach our 200th anniversary in 2028.
“We anticipate that short-term profitability will continue to fall slightly this year as a result of business interruption while we again increase our levels of investment in our estate, with our top hotel, The Alderley Edge Hotel, being fully refurbished as well as increased levels of expenditure in both our managed and tenanted pubs.
“Bedrooms are becoming an increasingly important revenue stream and we now have 211 bedrooms in our managed estate of hotels and inns.
“We are in the fortunate position of having supportive family shareholders who want to invest in our business for the long term as well as being virtually debt-free. We remain hungry for acquisitions of both managed and tenanted pubs as well as hotels in the North West.”