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Greene King profits up

Pre-tax profits at Greene King, the brewer and pub operator, rose 54 per cent to pounds 20.7m from pounds 13.4m, boosted by the acquisition of the Magic Pub group, which it bought in July 1996. The operator of Hungry Horse and King's Fayre pubs and brewer of Greene King and Abbot Ale said earnings per share adjusted for one-off items rose 13 per cent to 23.7p and pre- tax profit rose 26 per cent to pounds 19.1m.

Greene King's Magic Pub acquisition drove operating profit growth, at a time when rival pub operators have reported pressure on profits because of competition and the need to spend heavily to meet consumers' taste for themed and branded pubs.