Punch Taverns swings back against ABI

Pub owner Punch Taverns has responded in no uncertain terms to a special committee set up by the Association of British Insurers (ABI). Punch announced two days ago that they had made progress restructuring their gargantuan debts.

Punch’s complex £2.4bn debts have seen the value of the business plummet over the last few years, but plans to tackle them have been attacked by the ABI. They responded:

Punch rejects the assertion that appropriate due diligence material has not been made available. Further, the ABI Special Committee advisers’ statement that the due diligence information provided to date has been insufficient is at odds with the fact that a number of significant financial institutions, who are as significant to the transaction as the ABI Special Committee, have already undertaken their financial and legal due diligence processes based upon the information that has been made available to the ABI Special Committee’s advisers.

Commenting Punch executive chairman, Stephen Billingham, said:

We have had constructive discussions with a broad group of stakeholders, including a number of members of the ABI Special Committee. We are somewhat surprised by the statement today, which is inconsistent with that dialogue.

There are a range of views within the ABI Special Committee and Punch and its advisers wish to continue to engage with them to reach a solution capable of being implemented.

The latest Punch proposal is a reasonable one which we believe, when fully considered by all parties, including the ABI Special Committee, is capable of delivering a good solution for all stakeholders.