Stephen Billingham Executive Chairman, of Punch Taverns has said that “The next few days will be some of the most important in the Company’s history.” His comments came as he called on on all parties to vote in favour of the Restructuring proposals put forward by the Board. He said if the restructuring plan was not approved it would have a “material negative impact” on the business.
If the restructure is not agreed there are fears that the company could go into administration which would affect some 4,000 pubs UK-wide, and more than 300 licensees in Scotland.
Said Billingham, “It is well known that certain creditors with blocking stakes have said they do not support the proposals. There are also other creditors with conflicting views who have blocking stakes. We have tried to listen to everyone and find a middle way. While it is not possible to accommodate all of the conflicting views, Punch has attempted over a 14 month period of engagement and at significant financial cost and management time to find a balance between these conflicting views.”
If Punch does go into administration licensees will would be left out of pocket to the tune of thousands of pounds. Although the current licensing act allows certain steps which can be put in place to transfer licences this responsibility will lie with the administrator who will have 28 days to do this, before making any ongoing decisions with regard to pub closures.
Billingham concluded, “The restructuring would provide certainty and stability for the business from which all stakeholders will benefit. In the next few days stakeholders have it in their hands to vote in favour of the Restructuring proposals to end this uncertainty.” The Noteholder Meeting at which the vote will be upheld is on the 14 February.