Mitchells & Butlers, the pub group, is to scrap its final dividend to reduce debts after slumping to a £238m pre-tax loss following ill-fated efforts to set up a property joint venture.

The company behind the All Bar One chain said pre-tax losses had nearly quadrupled in the year to the end of September after a 7pc fall in the value of its property estate and losses linked to the failure of the joint venture.

Chief executive Tim Clarke said the company would cut its dividend to reduce debts by £175m by December 2010, a decision he described as “extremely difficult”.

Daily Telegraph