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Waiver decision allows firm to continues talks

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 30, 2014

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BOSSES at a Burton-based pub giant have breathed a huge sigh of relief after a deal was agreed to make sure it did not on default on payments on its multi-billion debt pile.

Senior figures at Punch Taverns, based in Centrum 100, revealed that they were now focused on continuing restructuring talks in a bid to secure the firm’s long-term future.

It means the company can now move towards reaching a deal after bondholders agreed to a covenant waiver request, which will allow them to take certain actions to save the firm, which they were previously prevented from doing.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Since the announcement on February 28, Punch has continued to facilitate discussions between stakeholders with a view to reaching agreement on the terms of a consensual restructuring.

“While progress has been made, further time will be required to finalise the proposals with stakeholders and to permit stakeholders and their advisers to review and comment on the documentation necessary to implement them.

“To ensure that no default occurs while discussions continue, Punch gave notice convening noteholder meetings on April 29 for the purposes of voting on covenant waiver requests.

“The waivers were necessary to avoid the risk of a near-term default.

“It is a condition of the waivers that a restructuring is launched by June 20.

“Noteholders at the firm voted overwhelmingly in favour of the waiver requests.”

This comes only weeks after the firm announced that it was set to meet full year expectations after seeing profits rise to £50 million for the 28 weeks to March 1.

The firm also saw like-for-like income up by 1.4 per cent, with major inroads made into a substantive investment programme in its pubs up and down the country.

Stephen Billingham, executive chairman of Punch Taverns, said: “Proactive engagement on the restructuring discussions is continuing and we urge all stakeholders to support the covenant waiver requests to provide the business with stability and time to effect a consensual restructuring.”

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