Heineken's purchase of £60m-worth of bonds held by troubled Globe Pub Company (GPC) - around 30 per cent of its debt - was not part of a takeover strategy, the Dutch brewer said today.
The deal, for an undisclosed price, represented "very good value", a Heineken spokesman said, and came after the Class A1 bonds were recently downgraded.
The deal was driven by economic and commercial reasons, he added, and does not presage a takeover of GPC, which is owned by R20, an investment vehicle owned by property tycoon Robert Tchenguiz.
"If GPC decides to restructure that's Mr Tchenguiz's call. We'll get interest payments and it helps us consolidate the balance sheet, since GPC owes us money from its day-to-day trading," the spokesman noted. He declined to say how much the brewer was owed.
Sources who have followed GPC's trading suggest that the debt purchase strengthens Heineken's hand should there be any pre-tax earnings uplift from the company, whose 400-plus pubs are run by Scottish & Newcastle Pub Enterprises
Nor was the move to buy the debt part of a plan to secure a long term supply agreement with GPC, Heineken said.
The Dutch brewer already has a 30 year supply deal with the R20-owned business, the spokesman said.