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Ei Group H1 Pre-tax Profit Falls; Announces Additional Share Buyback

Ei Group plc (EIG.L), an owner and operator of pubs in the UK, on Tuesday reported first-half profit before tax of 13 million pounds, down sharply from 45 million pounds in the prior-year period.

Profit after tax attributable to members of the parent company fell to 9 million pounds or 1.9 pence per share, from 37 million pounds or 7.6 pence per share in the year-ago period.

The statutory profit after tax is after non-underlying charges of 40 million pounds, compared to 10 million pounds in the year-ago period, largely relating to the allocation of 31 million pounds of goodwill to property disposals.

However, underlying profit before tax for the half year was 59 million pounds, up slightly from 57 million pounds in the prior-year period. Underlying earnings per share was 10.8 pence, compared to 9.8 pence last year.

Revenue for the first half increased to 353 million pounds from 330 million pounds last year.

Simon Townsend, Chief Executive Officer, said, "This consumer resilience, combined with excellent operational execution and effective capital investment, provides us with the confidence that we can maintain our growth momentum for the year as a whole, despite some challenging comparative trading periods ahead of us in June and July."

Ei Group announced an additional share buyback of 30 million pounds. This in addition to the 55 million pounds program previously announced by the company, and will deliver a total program of 85 million pounds in the current financial year.

In order to effect the program, Ei Group said it has entered into an agreement with Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch to carry out on-market purchases of its ordinary shares. This agreement provides Deutsche Bank with authority to carry out market purchases under the program independently of the company.

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