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UK: Punch Taverns silent on pub sale rumours

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Punch Taverns, the UK's largest pub owner, has remained silent over reports it is considering selling a number of its pubs in a bid to reduce its GBP4.5bn (US$6.2bn) debt.

Press reports this weekend said that the company has appointed advisers to approach a number of brewers, including Fuller's, Young's and Charles Wells to put an offer forward.

Punch declined to comment when contacted by just-drinks today (9 March).

In the company's January trading statement, Punch reported that trading conditions during September and October had remained "extremely challenging" and expressed caution about trading prospects for the coming financial year.

Despite improved trading over the peak Christmas period, the company reported a double digit slide in beer sales across its estate during its first 20 weeks of fiscal 2009.

Punch said that for the last 18 months it has focused on reducing the overall level of its debt and will continue to look at further opportunities to increase free cash flow and redeem securities through initiatives to reduce costs and the realisation of value from the disposal of non-core assets. 


Sectors: Beer & cider

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