Shares in JD Wetherspoon were down on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the pub chain owner reported a fall in pre-tax profits in the half year ended Jan. 23.

Revenue increased 7.6 percent in the period to £525.4 million and operating profit increased 1.4 per cent to £49.6 million. However pre-tax profit fell 11 per cent to £32.2 million, thanks, the company said, to higher interest charges.

During the period Wetherspoon opened 14 pubs and closed two, taking its total estate to 787 pubs.

The group said it would be cutting its total and special dividend from 19.0 pence per share to 4.0 pence per share.

"Sales and operating profits in the six months under review were at record levels, in spite of the pernicious combination of increasing taxes and regulation," JD Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin, said. "Trading in the 6 weeks to 6 March 2011 continued on a similar trend to the first half of the current financial year, with like-for-like sales up 2.8% and total sales increasing by 7.9%.

"Given our resilient sales performance and strong cash flow, I remain confident of a reasonable outcome in the current financial year," he added.

By 09:00 shares in JD Wetherspoon were down 0.26 percent on the FTSE 250 to 429.80 pence per share.