NEWS

2010-05-19

Mitchells & Butlers Shares

Birmingham pub group Mitchells & Butlers, which owns chains like Harvester and All Bar One, has seen profits rise more than 50 per cent after changing direction to focus more on food.

The Fleet Street firm announced pre-tax profits of £73 million in the 22 weeks to 10 April. This was compared to £47 million in the same period last year.

M&B went through a massive boardroom shakeup at the end of last year after board members and major shareholders disagreed about the composition of the board.

Billionaire Joe Lewis, the largest investor in the firm, eventually prevailed in getting a number of new people appointed to the company, but the firm said it would keep on with plans to focus on food-led outlets and move away from drinking pubs.

Recently the company announced plans to sell about 300 pubs that were not profitable enough.

In the last 22 weeks, sales at the company were at £1.4 billion, about 1 per cent up on the year before.

Chief executive Adam Fowle said: "The business continues to trade well and we are pleased with the progress made in the first half with improved sales and margins leading to an increase in operating profits and profit before tax of 12.2 per cent and 55.3 per cent respectively. These results underpin our confidence in our strategy of increasing shareholder value by reshaping Mitchells & Butlers around its key food led brands."

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