Old English Inns, the pub and hotels operator, was compared by one City analyst to Egypt suffering the seven plagues as it warned that full-year profits would be hit by the restrictions put in place to combat the spread of foot-and-mouth disease.

The company, which owns 142 managed pub-restaurants and inns across the country, said business had already been "severely affected" by the precautions introduced by the government, and that it would not meet the City's expectations for the current year.

Old English was badly affected by pub closures and poor trading during the heavy rains and floods last year, which also hurt profits. It was just recovering from that when foot-and-mouth arrived. An analyst at its house broker, ABN Amro, said: "They might as well expect a plague of locusts next." ABN Amro suggested it would cut its full-year profit forecasts by 15%-20% because of the crisis.

In November, Old English reported an interim pre-tax profit of just under £3 million for the first six months, down from the £5 million reported for the corresponding period the year before.

It said yesterday that it had sold 22 pubs that were not trading well or in flood affected areas, and would be concentrating on larger pubs and hotels in market towns, with a further sale of 13 quieter village locals to leave a core of 120 pubs. The company's shares closed down 5.5p at 76p.

• Enterprise Inns has said it is taking the foot-and-mouth situation "very seriously".

Its comments came after the warning from Old English Inns about the impact of the outbreak.

Enterprise said it was making "special efforts" to help hard-hit pubs. It said only 10% of its outlets were in rural areas and a only a small proportion of those had been affected.