Punch Taverns’ lenders to meet to discuss alternative debt plan

Kasmira Jefford
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LENDERS to Punch Taverns are to meet this week to discuss their own plan for restructuring its £2.4bn debt-pile after rejecting two earlier proposals put forward by the pub group’s board.

Punch chairman Stephen Billingham has spent months trying to find a solution to its mountain of debt, built up after a decade-long acquisition spree.

The firm’s complex debt is held in two securitised vehicles, Punch A and Punch B, each with around eight tranches of debt.

However, new restructuring plans drawn up last week were rejected for a second time by a group of influential senior bondholders as being too “vague”.

The lenders represented by The Association of British Insurers (ABI) said the plans were still “some distance away from proposals that could be acceptable” to them.

An larger group of creditors beyond those represented by the ABI are now understood to be planning to meet to discuss options independent of Punch’s board.

Billingham hit back at the ABI last week, claiming the proposals are “capable of delivering a good solution for all stakeholders”.