Arbuthnot Securities is forecasting 2006 pre-tax profits of £15.5m at Hardys & Hanson, a company that analysts speculate could be the next target for one of the larger operators. Hardys is confident trading should remain resilient at its 263 pubs, even with the imminent smoking ban, because of the availability of outside areas at most of its houses and a strong food element in its managed estate. The company expects the World Cup to have a broadly neutral effect on trading. Financial Times 10/06/06 page 18 (Weekend share watch) The Times 10/06/06 page 46 (Need to know)