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Greene King first-half profit rises, plans for "no deal" Brexit

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(Reuters) – Greene King <GNK.L> reported a 3.2 percent rise in first-half pretax profit on Thursday and the pub operator said it was putting contingency plans in place to protect against disruptions if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

Greene King said it has identified key areas of risk to its business from a “no deal” outcome and is working closely with its supply chain partners to safeguard the supply of goods to its pubs and breweries, as well as the export of beers.

Greene King is the latest British company to announce preparations for the risk of interruptions to the flow of goods and parts across borders once Britain leaves the European Union next March.

The company has been battling rising costs from a minimum wage increase, higher property prices, a Brexit-spurred slide in the sterling and younger Britons shifting away from traditional pubs.

The company, which was founded in 1799 and brews beers such as Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen, said pretax profit for the 24 weeks to Oct. 14, rose to 127.7 million pounds from 123.7 million pounds a year ago.

The company also said comparable sales for Pub Company, through which it manages its chain of 2,900 pubs, restaurants and hotels, had risen 2.7 percent with growth sustained beyond the boost from England’s World Cup soccer run and a summer heat-wave.

The company also said Christmas bookings were well ahead of last year.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain and Adil Bhat; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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