Punch Taverns trading 'in line' with expectations

Trading in the 12 weeks to March 2nd has been "in line" with Punch Taverns' expectations despite January trading being adversely impacted by weather, a financial update issued by the group has shown.

Trading in the 12 weeks to March 2nd has been "in line" with Punch Taverns' expectations despite January trading being adversely impacted by weather, a financial update issued by the group has shown.

Like-for-like net income showed improvement in the second quarter, being down 3.5% in the core estate compared to a decrease of 5.2% for the first quarter.

The group reported that it is on track to meet its full year profit expectations and said that profit performance had been in line with management expectations.

Some 270 core investments were completed in the half year at an average spend of approximately £100,000 per pub, the update showed.

The group reported that the investment had been transforming the customer offer in these pubs and said that the associated trading uplift would be expected in the second half of the year.

The Punch Buying Club membership increased to 3,300 Partners. This compared to 2,200 partners in March 2012 and £55m of disposal proceeds were recorded in the half year, above book value and slightly ahead of the group's expectations.

The percentage of core pubs on substantive agreements remained strong at 94% and in line with Punch's target of having between 93% and 95% of the core estate on substantive agreements.

Since announcing its restructuring proposal on February 7th 2013, the group said that it had made "positive progress" in engaging with the many stakeholders who would need to approve the restructuring proposal.

CEO: Profit performance 'in line with management expectations'

Stephen Billingham, Executive Chairman of Punch Taverns, commented:"Our profit performance for the first half of the year has been in line with management expectations, with improving trends in the underlying business.

"We have strong plans in place to return the core estate to growth in the medium-term. We expect to make further progress in the second half of the financial year and are on track to meet our full year profit expectations," he added.

Punch Taverns' share price was down 11.27% to 9.76p at 11:27 on Tuesday.

MF

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