Spirit showed there is life in the pub game yet, despite a £595m writedown on the value of its properties.
Spirit's chief executive, Mike Tye, the man charged with revitalising one half of the old Punch Taverns business, reported a 16 per cent rise in profits to £51m from the company's 1,300 pubs, despite lower consumer spending and brutal competition from cheap, supermarket plonk. Spirit is paying a dividend of 1.95p.
The property writedown cuts the value of the company's estate to £1.3bn. Many of the pubs were bought at the height of the property market, and valued at the old prices until now.