UK: Punch Taverns reports ‘positive’ start to new year

Punch Taverns executive chairman Stephen Billingham.

Punch Taverns executive chairman Stephen Billingham. - Credit: PA

Pubs group Punch Taverns yesterday 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.

Punch said the figure represented a fourth consecutive quarter of improved like-for-like trends and, with the help of weather-related weak comparatives from a year earlier, net income per pub was up across the entire estate.

“Expectations remain unchanged with management expecting the core estate to return to full year like-for-like net income growth of up to 1% for the current financial year,” the group said.

Stephen Billingham, executive chairman of Punch, said: “We have made a positive start to the financial year and our results are benefiting from the operational improvements we have made over the last 12 months. Profits are in line with our expectations and we have reiterated our guidance for the full year.”

Earlier this month, Punch revealed that it was working with a number of stakeholders with a view to agreeing a restructuring proposal, and it said yesterday that this process was continuing.

“Punch intends to announce such a restructuring proposal in December 2013 with the formal launch of implementation shortly thereafter,” it added.

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.