Punch tenants demand clarification on Heineken deal

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Punch tenants want clarity over Heineken
Punch tenants want clarity over Heineken

Related tags: Public house, Pca

The Punch Tenant Network (PTN), the campaign group representing Punch licensees, has called on the pubs code adjudicator (PCA) to clarify the position if Heineken’s bid for the pub company is successful.

Heineken, the owner of Star Pubs & Bars, is proposing to buy the 1,900 Punch pubs for 180p per share.

In a letter to the PCA, Chris Lindesay, coordinator of the PTN, said that members of the organisation had expressed concern over the implications of the buyout, including the possible “severe reduction” in the choice of drinks that would be available.

Lindesay said: “This seems certain to trigger the Pubs Code Market Rent Only (MRO) process for all 1,900 pubs that Heineken proposes to purchase. We are calling on the PCA to clarify the situation and to disclose if he has given any assurances to any parties on this subject.”

However, under the terms of the code MRO can only be activated at rent renewal, review or if there was a significant increase in product prices. Another trigger would be if there was a decrease in the level of trade that would be reasonably expected at the pub in each month over a continuous period of 12 months.

The PTN said that Punch Taverns had committed to offer an extensive range of products, which can be as many as 300 national ales and lagers and local ales from many of the country's 756 small breweries. It said that because Punch Taverns is not a brewer, it does not dictate which products a tenant must sell and it questioned the range offered by Heineken.

The PCA said it had received the letter and would respond in due course.

A spokeswoman said: “The PCA is closely monitoring this potential deal. But it is very early days in the process. The PCA cannot second-guess the outcome of the proposed deal. Whether it can go ahead is a matter for the relevant authorities.”

A Heineken spokesman said: "As we have consistently said, should we be successful in this acquisition, we will start with what is right for each of the pubs joining us; and we will work collaboratively with licensees to ensure they have the right drinks on offer to suit the specific needs of those pubs." 

Related topics: Punch Taverns

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