Market warms to Best of the Best with shares motoring 40 per cent

Everyone has seen the stands while waiting for a delayed flight at one of the UK's airports, but it may nonetheless come as a surprise to many that, in these days of thrift, people are still shelling out up to £20 a time on a spot-the-ball contest giving them the chance to win a top-of-the-range sports car.

The Alternative Investment Market-listed company that organises the competitions is the wonderfully named Best of the Best, which last week published its interim results saying that it was "cautiously optimistic" about 2009, despite profits for the half year to 31 October falling by almost 50 per cent.

In spite of what could be a crippling recession, the group, which must be about the most reliant on discretionary spending in Christendom, still managed a six month pre-tax profit of £270,000.

The group's business model has become more subtle in recent years after initially deciding to charge punters as much as £70 for a single ticket when it first listed. And clearly the market was not offering odds on the results being as good as they were as the stock spiked by nearly 40 per cent last Wednesday.