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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 December, 2004, 08:59 GMT
Punch sells more than 500 pubs
Man pulling a pint
Punch only bought the Innspired pubs in September
Britain's second-biggest pub company Punch Taverns has said it is selling half of the pub estate it acquired when it bought Innspired in September.

Punch said that after a strategic review of the Innspired estate it was selling 545 of the pubs for 162.5m ($315m) to Pubfolio Ltd.

The firm said it was selling the less profitable pubs, which it said made an annual average profit of 29,000 each.

The 471 pubs being retained make an average profit of 52,000.

Punch added it would be using the funds raised from the sale to reduce net debt.

Pubfolio is set to take on most of the Innspired staff and will also receive Innspired's head office on Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

"This transaction demonstrates Punch's ability to create value by acquiring pub assets, retaining those that meet our criteria and disposing profitably of the remainder," said Punch chief executive Giles Thorley.

"The Innspired pubs being retained share the stable and sustainable business characteristics of Punch's pubs."

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