The group remains on track in terms of expectations for 2012 and we expect an upgrade next year despite the split. In terms of this year, trading has benefitted from a number of operational initiatives including menu-change and staffing, where the group has invested in more area managers per pub.
NIGEL PARSON | EVOLUTION SECURITIES
Trading at the more attractive Spirit business is improving (helped by the fine weather) and trading is also improving at Punch. We think that Spirit could be vulnerable to a bid once demerged, while there is sufficient asset value within Punch to give it a good chance to restructure and de-lever.
SIMON FRENCH | PANMURE GORDON
Both businesses have done better than expected and the group remains on track to meet its full year expectations. The only fly in the ointment is that Roddy Murray will has decided not to take up the role of finance director delegate at Spirit. We don’t expect the shares to outperform ahead of a demerger.