East Anglia: Pubs group Punch Taverns unveils fresh plans for financial restructuring

Punch Taverns executive chairman Stephen Billingham.

Punch Taverns executive chairman Stephen Billingham. - Credit: PA

Heavily indebted pubs group Punch Taverns today announced further modified plans for a long-awaited capital restructuring, but acknowledged that full agreement with creditors had yet to be secured.

Punch said it had “continued to hold extensive discussions with a broad range of stakeholders and their advisers” since its last update on November 4,

A number of “significant” stakeholders from across its capital structure had indicated a broad level of support for a revised structure for the proposals, although “there remain a number of areas on which consensus is still to be reached”, the group said.

“The board believes that these revised proposals are in the interests of all stakeholders, are capable of being successfully implemented and that the modified structure of the proposals has the support of a number of significant stakeholders,” it added.

“However, given the nature of the securitisation structures and the differing interests across many of the stakeholder classes, it has not been possible to reflect all of the views received during the engagement process and, as a result, there remain different and conflicting views from some stakeholders on certain aspects of the proposals.”

In order to avoid a short-term default, Punch will formally launch final proposals for each of its “A” and “B” securitisations by January 15, with noteholders then being asked to vote on the proposals after the appropriate notice periods.

Stephen Billingham, cxecutive chairman of Punch Taverns, said: “The modified restructuring proposals reflect the results of an extensive process of engagement with stakeholders and incorporate a number of structural changes requested by both senior and junior noteholders.”

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Punch owns around 4,300 pubs across the country, including a strong presence in East Anglia where, due to past acquisitions and mergers, it includes a number of former Tolly Cobbald properties.

The group has been in talks with stakeholders over the restructuring of its debt for more than a year, with initial proposals published in February and a revised plan unveiled in June.

Two weeks ago, Punch reported a “positive” start to its new year, with like-for-like net income from its core estate up 1.4% in the 12 weeks to November 9, representing a fourth consecutive quarter of improved like-for-like trends.