Punch Taverns, Britain’s biggest pub owner, reported a £406m annual loss after writing down the value of its recession-hit estate by 11%.

It also said that trading had not improved in the first seven weeks of its new financial year, prompting analysts to cut profit forecasts. The group’s shares yesterday fell 16.6% to close at 96.65p.

Punch owns almost 7,700 pubs, mostly run by semiindependent publicans whose leases or tenancy deals oblige them to buy all their beer through the group as well as pay it rent.

Financial Times