Jennings Brothers, the pub operator and brewer, reported first-half underlying pre-tax profit up 56.2% year-on-year to £1.55m.

The company said that its decision to exit managed house retailing had allowed it to increase earnings on substantially reduced turnover of £8.8m, compared to £15.8m the previous year.

Earnings per share were 54.5% higher in the first half year-on-year at 10.2p on an underlying basis.

The company declared an interim dividend per ordinary share of 2.3p, up 4.5%.

John Rudgard, the company’s chairman, said: "These are early days and, whilst there is still much to do in a fast moving market, trading in the second half year has started in line with expectations.

"The board remains confident that further progress will be achieved in line with the new strategy in the second half and beyond."