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Punch Taverns has issued a profit warning following bad weather this summer. The pub group, which is due to announce its full year results on 8 November ….

 …. warned investors that its pre-tax profits for the year to 18 August 2007 will be down by around 2-3%. Based on analysts’ average forecast of pre-tax profits of £285 million, this would amount to £8m.

But it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for Punch. The group said the average profitability of leased pubs in its estate had increased by more than 10% thanks to acquisitions, including the £2.68bn purchase of the Spirit estate in January 2006. Like-for-like sales were up 2.7% in Punch Taverns’ leased estate and by 3.2 % in its managed estate. Regarding the smoking ban, Punch said that that no significant impact had been detected so far.

City analysts had expected the weather to affect Punch’s results and, now that normal trading has resumed, are maintaining a positive outlook for the company. Rumours of a demerger of Spirit, its managed pubs operation, have also added value to Punch’s shares.

© Fionnuala Synnott, db 12/09/07

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