Scottish & Newcastle posted an 18% fall in full-year pre-tax profit but has been given European Union Commission clearance for its £278m takeover of troubled cidermaker H P Bulmer.

For the year to April 27 S&N - which brews John Smith’s, Kronenbourg and Foster's - said pre-tax profit fell to £284.6m from £347m on group sales which rose 19% to £4.99bn from £4.2bn.

The EU Commission said S&N’s deal to buy Bulmer with brands Strongbow, Woodpecker and Scrumpy Jack, presents “only minor overlaps" in the UK which “didn't raise any serious competition concerns”.

S&N said Kronenbourg, Foster's and John Smith's beers saw strong sales in the UK in the take-home side of the business. But it was held back by supply chain problems, which it said were being addressed.

The brewer said conditions in the second half of the year were likely to be easier than in the first half, but low consumer confidence made the group cautious as to the extent of the recovery overall.

The company said it was on track to complete the sale of the managed pubs estate by the end of the calendar year. New chief executive Tony Froggatt said he hoped to include a beer supply contract in the deal.

S&N confirmed that the remaining 51% of Portuguese brewer Central de Cervejas was bought on May 13. And it has agreed to buy 100% of Sociedade da Agua de Luso, which produces branded mineral and spring water from the same joint venture partners on for 342m euros (£237m).