Punch plans to clear debt

PUNCH Taverns is considering a range of options as part of massive restructuring plans designed to battle its £3.1bn debt.

The pub chain is believed to be considering hiving off a portion of its loans and freeholds, a debt-for-equity swap or more pub sales, according to sources who said “all options were on the table”.

A more radical plan to hand over 6,000 pubs, which Punch owns but leases to independent landlords, to its bondholders is also being considered.

New chief executive Ian Dyson is said to want to concentrate on the 800 pubs that Punch directly manages and has appointed Goldman Sachs and Blackstone to help the group prepare for a restructure.

Were Punch to spin off its leased pub network it would eliminate most of its debt almost immediately.