Punch Taverns slows disposal of pubs as performance improves

 
Oliver Smith
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PUNCH Taverns yesterday said its disposal of non-core pubs would take longer than anticipated after they performed better than expected.

The chain previously announced it would close these 1,106 non-core pubs as they are smaller and predominantly led by alcohol sales.

“Given the limited scope for investment, these pubs are more likely to be impacted by the long-term decline in drinking out and as a result are expected in time to generate more value through disposal than retention,” said Punch Taverns in a statement.

The non-core division accounted for 18 per cent of the chain’s £43m profit in the year to August 2013.

Of the non-core pubs to be closed, 116 were transferred back into the core division at the start of the year.

Punch expects to raise a total of £307m from the disposal over the next six years, including £100m raised in the current financial year.

Punch’s share price rose 7.8 per cent on the news to 13.75p.