Shares in Punch Taverns were down on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the pub owner reported a dip in pre-tax profits in the half year ended 5 March 2011.

EBITDA during the period fell from £225 million in the same period the previous year to £206 million, while pre-tax profit before exceptional items dropped from £66 million to £61 million.

After exceptional items the group made a loss of £325 million, thanks mainly to charges related to the ongoing restructuring of its business.

Ian Dyson, Chief Executive Officer of Punch Taverns, commented, "We are pleased that our operational initiatives continue to translate into improved performance within both the Managed and Leased businesses.

"Despite the challenging UK consumer environment, we remain confident of making further progress in the second half of the financial year. We have had a good start to the third quarter and are on track to meet our full year expectations.

"This strong trading momentum provides a solid platform for the proposed demerger of Spirit, on which we are making good progress. We are pleased to announce that Walker Boyd will join the Board and become the Chairman of Spirit on demerger and we have confirmed the key executive appointments within both businesses."

By 08:55 shares in Punch Taverns were down 1.82 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 78.05 pence per share.