Punch Taverns said today it was still looking for more acquisitions after buying Pubmaster late last year. Announcing interim results for the 28 weeks to March 6, the company's chief executive, Giles Thorley, revealed Punch had already bought another 44 pubs and had the banking facilities in place to take advantage of "any appropriate consolidation opportunities in the sector". The half-year figures showed group turnover up 39% to £303m and profit before tax and exceptionals up 30% to £72.5m. Like-for-like turnover for the period rose 2.4%, while improved margins meant like-for-like outlet profit growth of 3.9%. Adjusted earnings per share were up 19% to 23.0p, a rise of 30% with a normalised tax charge. Thorley said: "This is another period of excellent growth for the group, which clearly demonstrates the ongoing strength of our business model and the benefits that acquisitions bring." The integration of Pubmaster, whose results were included with Punch's for the 14 weeks from December 1, was going well, with operational profits of £29.6m, although the acquisition made up the bulk of exceptional charges for the quarter of £16.8m. Pubmaster had 3,115 pubs upon acquisition. Punch subsequently sold 256 pubs for a total of £59m, giving an exceptional loss of £11.5m. A revaluation of the Pubmaster assets and loans resulted in goodwill of £82.7m, which will be amortised over 20 years, Thorley said. Punch now runs 7,371 pubs, most of them freehold. It invested £19m on enhancements to the estate, up from £12m last year. o Punch also announced today the appointment of Jonathan Paveley, former strategy director with Greene King, as its new commercial director.