UK supermarket chain and takeover target Safeway has reported lower half-year profits in line with its own forecasts.

The company posted pre-tax exceptional profits of £173m (US$294.6m) for the six months to 11 October, compared to £187m a year earlier.

The retailer is currently the target of a long takeover battle, which started back in January when rival Wm MORRISON offered to buy the chain. Safeway is now waiting for Morrison to launch another bid after the Yorkshire-based grocer was given competition clearance to make an offer for the chain.

Safeway also said it has received offers for 39 of the 52 stores that Morrison would have to sell if its takeover bid is successful. The offers are in excess of £543m, Safeway said. The chain has valued the other 13 stores at £31m. Analysts had previously estimated the value of the 52 stores at around £500m, reported Reuters.