Greene King Plc has reported a rise in half-year profits. The brewer and pubs group today posted an increase of 10% in pre-tax profits of £38.6m (US$67m) for the 24 weeks to October 19.

The company, which brews Old Speckled Hen, Abbot Ale and Greene King IPA and owns almost 1,700 pubs in southern England, said its like-for-like sales at its managed pubs climbed by 3.8%. Sales for the second-half are so far running ahead of target.

Referring to the company's managed and tenanted pubs and brewing interests, chief executive Tim Bridge told Reuters: "Trading has been encouraging since the start of the second half of the current financial year with all three divisions continuing to perform well."

Half-year dividends on shares rose by 10% to 9.5 pence per share.