StockMarketWire.com - Veterinary and pet product group Pets at Home posted rise in first-half profit, driven by strength in its retail business and a fall in restructuring charges at its veterinary division.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through September jumped to £34.0m, up from £8.0m on-year.

Revenue rose 9.4% to £546.3m and underlying profit, excluding the adoption of new accounting standards, rose 19% to £45.0m.

Pets at Home kept its interim dividend steady at 2.5p per share.

The company said planned changes to its fee arrangements for joint-venture veterinary practices were starting to have a positive impact.

A total of 57 joint-venture practice buyouts were now complete, with 36 having subsequently closed.

Like-for-like sales at the company's retail business rose 7.8%, while rising 6.4% in its veterinary business.

On its outlook, Pets at Home said it expected to post a full-year underlying profit towards the top end of current market consensus ,though it would continue to hold its dividend steady.

The company also said it had commenced a succession plan for long-serving chairman Tony DeNunzio.

'I am very pleased with what we have achieved in the first half of the year,' chief executive Peter Pritchard said.

The company now expected profit growth in the current financial year ahead of its plan, he added.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com