Shares in Punch fell by more than 12% yesterday after the pub operator revealed that intended to scrap this year's share dividend. At the close of trading shares in Punch had dropped by 38.5p to just over 278p. The dividend revelation also hit other pub operators. Enterprise Inns closed down 8.7%, or 27p, at 280p and JDWetherspoon closed down 2.9 %, or 8p, at 265p. Commenting on the announcement, the company's chief executive Giles Thorley said: “While the news of the dividend seems to have shocked people this morning, we have been talking to our shareholders about our plans and they have been very supportive.” He also added: “We are expecting 2009 to be challenging, but it is not yet rip-your-hair-out time. At some point , people will become so depressed they will want to drown their sorrows.” Mark Brumby, an analyst for Blue Oar, said: “Passing the dividend, whether or not the proposal has been bounced off a number of the group’s larger shareholders, will come as a surprise to the market and we are reiterating our sell recommendation Analysts at Evolution Securities downgraded its recommendation down from buy to add. In a statement Evolution added: “The trading statement is marginally better than we anticipated. “Revenue would have to fall 30-45% for debt service cover covenants to be breached, a scenario we do not envisage.”