Punch Taverns spends £100m on debt buyback

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 12-Oct-2009

Related topics: General News, Company & City News

Punch Taverns, which will this week announced its annual results, revealed it had spent around £100m buying back debt relating to its Punch 'B' securitisation vehicle.

 

The deal, likely to have been funded in part by the group's recent £350m share placing, is the latest in an extensive debt buyback programme designed to strengthen the pubco's balance sheet.

 

Weekend press reports meanwhile suggested the UK's largest pub operator would be forced to write-down the value of its 8,000-plus pub estate by hundreds of millions of pounds.

 

A number of Sunday newspapers reported the possibility that Punch would announce on Wednesday an impairment charge against its pub assets of around 10 per cent of their value, or £600m, as earnings and property prices fall.

 

The group, which recently put some 300 of its poorer performing pubs up for sale, is expected to announce pre-tax profits of around £163m for the year, down from £262m in 2008.

 

Numis Securities said it expects Punch to announce profits across its leased pub estate down 11 per cent, although it reckons the profits decline will slow as bottom end pubs are sold and easier comparatives come into play.

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