Admiral Taverns boss Gary Landesberg has claimed it could be spring 2008 before the long-term effects of the current credit crunch can be assessed.
Landesberg, whose company owns 2,600 tenanted pubs, admitted that he hadn't seen the credit squeeze coming. The company completed a £760m refinancing in July and Landesberg admits the timing had proved to be very fortuitous.
He said: "The timing of our re-finance was fantastic - we didn't see the bank thing coming. We wouldn't have got it away (had it been left until later) - there would have been no point in doing it."
On the issue of whether the credit squeeze had long-term effects, he added: "I don't think it's a short-term thing. I think spring of next year will be the time to see whether this will be a long haul or the storm clouds have passed."
Landesberg said he thought the credit squeeze was primarily an issue for the corporate world rather than the domestic property market. "Unlike in previous [crises], interest rates are low at 5.75% and they'll come down from there."
Admiral Taverns has a £1bn war chest for acquisitions after its refinancing. The company had bought around 3,300 pubs since it was launched in 2004, selling on around 530.
Asked about current trading at Admiral, Landesberg said: "We've returned to a kind of normality since the start of August, with some regions performing better than others. Am I comfortable with the performance? Yes. Am I thrilled? No. Is there any cause for concern? No - August and September have been OK.
"The average pub will be a better place in two years' time. Everybody has got to work harder to improve their pub (after the smoking ban)."
new officers at admiral
Admiral Taverns has a
new chief financial officer - Glen Pearson. He will replace Graeme Percy who joined when Admiral bought Pyramid Pub Company in February 2006. Pearson worked at Scottish & Newcastle Retail and more recently at Littlewoods. Admiral has also appointed its first tie compliance officer, Mike Simpson, who will be joining the company from Punch later this month.