Sides clash over Punch debt restructure

By John Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Proposal

Punch chairman Stephen Billingham: 'We’re out of runway in terms of getting everyone to sign up'
Punch chairman Stephen Billingham: 'We’re out of runway in terms of getting everyone to sign up'
Punch Taverns executive chairman Stephen Billingham and a committee representing senior Punch noteholders have clashed over the process of the company’s debt restructure.

In a statement issued following Punch’s proposals, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) senior noteholder committee said it did not agree to the plans or see transaction documents prior to the announcement.

'Limited interaction'

“The committee and its advisors have had limited interaction with the company and its advisors since the previous proposal, announced on 9 December 2013,” it said.

Billingham told the Publican's Morning Advertiser​'s sister title M&C Report​: “We are in a position where we’re out of runway in terms of getting everyone to sign up. Given the different interests, no one was willing to put the last concession on the table so we’ve had to say, right, this is what we think it looks like.”

He said Punch’s advisors talked to the ABI committee about the proposal on Monday 6 January.

“I personally went to see the senior advisor at the ABI on Friday [10 January].”

He added: “They are not the only party involved in this. There is a whole load of other people who are interested in their positions in this as well.”

Restructure process

Asked how confident he was that the restructure process would be approved, Billingham said: “We think it should happen. The economics work for everybody, therefore people should vote it through.”

A formal meeting with noteholders takes place on 14 February, although “the reality is people vote by proxy probably in advance of that”. The plan is to complete the process on 28 February, although there could be a delay of a fortnight if the proposals don’t receive enough backing; 75% of stakeholders across the 16 different meetings need to agree to them.

He said the administrative receiver would probably be called in if the proposal is not agreed, adding: “This is really the final push.”

Related topics: Punch Pubs & Co

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