British pubs group Fuller Smith & Turner reported a 11 percent rise in its first half pretax profits as occupancy improved and food sales grew strongly at its Managed Pubs and Hotels segment. The group lifted its interim dividend by 6 percent to 4.75 pence.

I am pleased to announce an excellent set of results for the first half of our financial year in what has been another challenging period for the industry, said chairman Michael Turner.

Turner said profits have grown in all parts of the business, with particularly strong performances in the group's Managed Pubs and Hotels led by growth in accommodation and food sales.

Though the group expects the spending cuts to impact the South of England less than other parts of the UK, it was well placed for further growth, Turner said.

Pretax profit increased to 16.8 million pounds from 15.1 million pounds as revenue rose 4 percent to 121.5 million pounds ($195.1 million).

Managed Pubs and Hotels, the largest part of the group's business, reported a 3.3 percent increase in like-for-like (LFL) sales for the six months ended Sept. 25. For the 33 weeks to Nov. 13, LFL sales at the unit grew 3.5 percent.

Accommodation business rebounded strongly from a tough prior year, with LFL revenue growing 11.4 percent, the group said.

LFL food sales grew 4.2 percent, mainly driven by freshly-cooked food made from locally-sourced produce.

At the group's Beer unit, total volumes increased 1 percent.

Shares of the company ended Thursday's regular trading at 605 pence on the London Stock Exchange.