Prezzo posts profits falls as yield on cash tumbles

PIZZA restaurant chain Prezzo posted a marginal fall in first-half pre-tax profits yesterday, mainly due to a sharply reduced yield on cash assets, but said it was currently trading in line with expectations.<br /><br />The company said it completed the first restaurant opening of the year and confirmed there were several more in the pipeline.<br /><br />For the 26 weeks to 28 June, it posted a pre-tax profit, before the impact of non-trading items, of &pound;5.1m, compared with &pound;5.2m a year ago.<br /><br />This came after finance income fell to &pound;38,000 &pound;93,000 pounds a year ago.<br /><br />Revenues grew 5.5 per cent to &pound;43.7m with gross or restaurant profit in line with last year at &pound;5.9m.<br /><br />Prezzo said there were no non-trading items in the first half of this year and, as a result, stated pre-tax profit was also &pound;5.1m, up from the &pound;2.9m profits reported in 2008.<br /><br />&ldquo;Providing trading continues at broadly comparable levels, the board expects to deliver a satisfactory outcome for the current year,&rdquo; said chairman Michael Carlton.<br /><br />As at 28 June, net cash balances had risen to &pound;13.9m from &pound;5m at the end of the same period last year.<br /><br />&ldquo;Prezzo&rsquo;s growing cash pile leaves it well placed for economic recovery,&rdquo; said Nigel Parson of Evolution Securities, who has a &ldquo;buy&rdquo; rating.