It is set to be a boozy week in the City, with Mitchells & Butlers, Punch Taverns and Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries all due to report results.
Birmingham-based M&B, the All Bar One and Harvester pubs group which recently rejected a 550 pence a share takeover approach from Robert Tchenguiz, announces its interims on Thursday.
The group, which as part of its defence against the £4.6 billion bid forecast a 9.6 per cent increase in first half underlying pretax profits, has pledged to return £500 million to shareholders via a refinancing.
M&B also confirmed it was interested in bidding for the 250 pubs recently put up for sale by Whitbread. Analysts reckon this could cost the group £400-500 million.
For the full 28 weeks to April 15, M&B is forecasting pre-exceptional pretax profits of not less than £143 million and earnings per share growth of "not less than" 17 per cent.
Investors in Burton-onTrent-based Punch Taverns will find out what progress the g roup has made on integrating the former 1,800-strong Spirit managed pubs estate when it announces its interim results this morning.
In particular, analysts will be hoping for some news on the planned disposal programme.
Punch Taverns, which bought the privately-owned Spirit estate in a £2.68 billion deal last December, has already outlined plans to convert around 750 pubs to leasehold over the next two years, but recent talk is that a package of more than 290 are being put up for sale at an estimated value of more than £500 million.
Potential buyers include Mr Tchenguiz, Greene King, M&B and W&DB. Punch is expected to report first half pre-exceptional pretax profits of about £114-116 million.
W&DB reports its interim results on Friday.
The group, which recently paid £43.6 million for small brewer Celtic Inns, has snapped up a number of pub g roups over the years, including Burtonwood, Jennings Brothers and English Country Inns.
Following last year's debt refinancing analysts reckon the group still has £400 million in its warchest.
Stockbroker Williams de Broe looks for underlying first h alf pretax profits of £40.2 million compared to £36 million last time.
Elsewhere Marks & Spencer is expected to the hog the headlines when posting its annual results tomorrow.
The last 12 months have seen a remarkable improve-ment in trading under chief executive Stuart Rose.
The recovery has seen M&S shares soar 76 per cent in a year. The City expects M&S to post a 35 per cent rise in pretax profits from £556.1 million to £751 million.
The decision by GUS to split its retail business from its credit checking arm Experian will be in focus when the firm reports its full-year results on Wednesday.
And there will be extra interest in the annual meet-ing of supermarket chain Morrisons on Thursday amid rumours that chairman Sir Ken Morrison could step down, or at the very least, clarify succession plans after 40 years at the helm. ..SUPL: