Jennings owner Marston’s has reported a £3 million drop in profits despite a rise in revenues.

The Midlands-based company, which owns the Cockermouth-based Jennings and has 26 pubs across Cumbria, reported an underlying pre-tax profit of £101 million for the year ending September 28 – down on the £104m reported for the same period in 2018.

Revenue, however, rose to £1.17 billion for the same period – up from £1.14bn in the previous year.

This week the company announced the completion of the disposal of 137 “non-core” pubs to Admiral Taverns in a £44.9m deal.

The disposal includes the Waterfront, Whitehaven, Herdwick Inn, Penrith and the Hare and Hounds at Bowland Bridge, near Grange-over-Sands.

Marston’s chief executive, Ralph Findlay, said the company’s focus remained on cutting its net debts by £200 million by 2023, if not earlier.

“We are making good progress with our debt reduction plans and are ahead of schedule in meeting the accelerated £70 million of disposal proceeds which we are targeting in the current year,” he said.

“The measures we are taking now will result in a high-quality business which is cash generative after dividends and capital expenditure.”

He added: “Trading is on track for the initial weeks of the current year and we are well prepared for the all-important Christmas and New Year period.”

Marston’s has also been scaling back on its new build pubs, revealing it had reduced its capital expenditure by £40m in the last year.

It recently confirmed it had abandoned plans for a riverside pub to be built in Workington, two years after it was granted planning permission.