Greene King delivered reassuring half-year results this week when it reported a 9% rise in profits to £35m, pre-tax and exceptionals. Chief executive Tim Bridge said like-for-like sales were volatile, with a first-quarter 0.3% rise being offset by weakersummer trading. Overall, like-for-likes were 0.5% ahead of last year. In the troubled high street sector, where Greene King has 140 managed pubs, like-for-likes were down 2% and have stayed at that level in the past seven weeks. Bridge said he was confident of "a good, if not spectacular Christmas." Pub Partners, the tenanted and leased business run by David Elliott, increased trading profit by 17% to £19.7m. Trading margins fell slightly due to inclusion of the Morells pubs before conversion from management to tenancy. Stripping those out, margins at the core business were 40%. Beer barrelage per pub rose by 2.7%. Nearly 40 pubs had a total of £5.4m spent on them. Early indications from the Old English Inns converted to tenancy are encouraging, the company said. Trading profits at Pub Company, the managed division run by Neil Gillis, were up 10% at £25.5m. Following the integration of the food-led and lower-marginOld English and Morrells, trading margins fell to 16.8%. Like-for-likes at the uninvested estate were down by 0.4%, but had since moved positive. Like-for-likes in the invested estate were up 1.7%. Trading at Brewing and Brands, run by Rooney Anand, was up 7% to £6.1m, off the back of a 5% rise in sales. Abbot Ale was up by 22%, with Speckled Hen up 14% and IPA up 6%. Three-quarters of sales are now outside the estate.