HUNDREDS of landlords were today breathing a sigh of relief after bosses at a Burton company battling a £3 billion debt pile vowed not to close pubs.
Punch Taverns, based in Centrum 100, made the pledge after admitting that it was likely an administrative receiver could be appointed as part of its effort to agree a deal to restructure its debt and secure the future of the firm.
The vote of confidence for publicans comes only weeks after Punch Taverns had to pull proposals it had put forward to reshuffle its finances, after it looked likely that they would be rejected by its shareholders.
A spokesman for the firm told the Mail: “Punch management are working very hard to agree a consensual restructuring.
“It is likely that an administrative receiver would be appointed to manage the securitisations.
“We would expect an administrative receiver to treat all tenants fairly, as they are vital to future success of the business.
“We would not therefore expect them to close pubs.
“We expect that the administrative receiver would work with the existing management team to continue to run the business.
“ We would continue to supply beer, support our Partners, invest in our pubs and let pubs to new partners, very much business as usual.”
The firm has until April 15 to strike a deal over its finances or face the possibility that it could go out of business.
Bosses have stressed that this will not be the case and, despite several issues along the way, that they are confident that a restructure will be given the go-ahead and secure the firm’s future in the town for years to come.
Stephen Billingham, executive chairman of Punch Taverns, previously told the Mail: “No-one can be in any doubt about the consequences of failing to agree a consensual deal.”