- Pub group Marston's swung to a first-half profit, owing to higher sales and an increase in the value of its estate.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through March amounted to £19.1m, compared to a £13.4m loss on-year.

Revenue rose 5% to £553.1m and underlying profit, which strips out estate valuation movements, rose 2% to £37.0m.

The company declared an interim dividend of 4.9p per share, up 2% on-year.

Destination and premium like-for-like sales rose 1.2%, while taverns like-for-like sales rose 3.9%.

Brewing revenue rose 8%, with own-brewed and licensed volumes up 4%.

'I am pleased to report continued growth across all segments of the business,' chief executive Ralph Findlay said.

'Our taverns wet-led community pubs have built on the strong trading performance last year and it is particularly encouraging to see our food-led pubs once again achieving increasing momentum in profitable like-for-like sales growth.'

'Our leading brewing business goes from strength to strength, winning new distribution contracts and continuing to grow market share.'

'We remain focussed on our strategic objectives and good progress has been made with our stated aim to improve cash generation and reduce the group's leverage.'

'Whilst the backdrop of ongoing uncertainty around Brexit continues to be challenging, opportunities for growth remain and we are confident of delivering another year of profitable growth for our shareholders.'

At 9:45am: [LON:MARS] Marstons PLC share price was +5.55p at 106.75p

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