12:31 Tuesday 28 January 2014

Punch debt deal faces new delay

Written byROB SMYTH

CREDITORS tasked with deciding whether or not to accept a proposal to restructure the £2.3 billion debt pile of Burton pub giant look set to reject the latest plan.

Senior lenders to Punch Taverns, based in Centrum 100, will formally reject the company’s debt restructuring proposals and urged bosses at the company to ‘re-open negotiations’.

Punch warned early this month that it faced ‘considerable uncertainty’ if its lenders failed to back plans to overhaul its debt pile built up through acquisitions over the past decade.

Major creditors, represented by an Association of British Insurers special committee, said in a joint statement on Monday: “The creditors and their advisors have carefully considered the revised proposals issued by Punch and the related legal documents made available.

“They are unable to support these proposals and accordingly will vote against the proposals.

“The creditors believe Punch should reopen negotiations and remain willing to work in good faith to agree a consensual restructuring.”

Punch said it had acknowledged the statement from its creditors and would be available for discussions on the restructuring proposals.

Bondholders will vote on the restructuring on February 14.

Punch executive chairman Stephen Billingham said: “We think it should happen.

“The economics work for everybody therefore people should vote it through.

“The consequences of it not happening are also pretty bad.

“We think it has the balance between all stakeholders.

“We think it plots a middle ground between them all.”

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