Punch Taverns reported a fall of 20 percent in its profit before tax for the six months ending in March at £33 million compared to £41 million a year ago. But expects to reap benefits during the second half of the current year from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the UEFA European football championship and the Olympic Games.
Despite weaker consumer market conditions in recent months, the group said it has worked hard to contain costs and deliver profits in line with expectations for the first half and remains on track to meet the full year profit expectations. Shares of the group were trading down 3 percent at 1242 AM BST.
The pub company disposed off 214 pubs together with other assets for £62 million during the first half and is on track to dispose further 400 - 500 non-core pubs for the full-year. It also plans to dispose its non-core pubs over five years.
"Notwithstanding the continuing challenging climate we have a clear operational plan to return the core estate to growth in the medium-term and extract maximum value from our non-core assets. We are making progress towards our aim to become the UK's highest quality, most trusted and best value leased pub company and are focused on creating value for our shareholders through successful long-term partnerships with our licensees in our core estate of 3,000 of the highest quality, best invested leased pubs in the country," said CEO Roger Whiteside.
The group expects the UK on-trade market to remain challenging with the long-term decline in drinking in pubs is expected to continue.