Punch Taverns swings to a half-year loss ahead of its sale to Heineken

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Punch Taverns said letting activity was affected by its sale to Heineken (Source: Getty)

Punch Taverns moved to a loss in the first half of the year as uncertainty following the sale of the group and the introduction of the Pubs Code hit letting activity.

The figures

The pub operator posted a loss before tax of £174m compared with profit of £55m the previous half-year. That's due to £198m of non-underlying charges, including writedowns, following shareholder approval for the sale of the group to brewing giant Heineken.

Net income fell 2.1 per cent in the firm's leased and tenanted division, including its Core and Mercury brands, but it was flat after adjusting for the impact of the temporary slowdown in letting activity, which was previously flagged, Punch said.

The group doubled the size of its retail pub division since the August 2016 year end, with 171 pubs open and trading as of April 2017.

Why it's interesting

Punch's shareholders agreed to sell the business to Heineken for £403m on 10 February, but the deal has faced opposition from the the Punch Tenant Network, which represents Punch publicans.

In today's update, Punch said market uncertainty following the sale of the company along with the introduction of the Pubs Code regulations have impacted letting activity.

Punch, which has the second largest pub estate with 3,227 pubs, said the sale is expected to be completed before the end of August.

Read more: A Punch in the face: The CMA is investigating Heineken's takeover deal

What Punch Taverns said

Chief executive Duncan Garrood said:

During the period, we have doubled the size of our retail estate and continue to innovate our operating agreements. This has been achieved whilst managing through a period of significant change, ahead of the sale of the group which is now expected to complete before the end of August 2017.

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