UK pizza and pasta restaurant chain ASK Central posted interim pre-tax profits up 32% to £5.91m (US$8.68m) in the six months ended 1 July. Turnover climbed 28% to £36.2m. Strong organic growth and new openings drove the strong performance. The AIM-listed operation opened nine new restaurants during the period under review, to boost its total portfolio to 112. CEO Adam Kaye said he expected to open a total of 25 restaurants in the current year, with 30 new openings already slated for next year.