Punch Debt Equity Swap

21 May 2012

For a thriving pub sector we need open market rents for tenants who can compete on price in buildings refurbished to a high standard and where customer service and care is the top priority says the tied tenants union.
GMB, the union for tied pub tenants, responded to media reports that Punch Taverns plan to open talks with bondholders on converting debt to equity as a way of getting rid of unsustainable debts.
Paul Maloney GMB National Officer for tied pub tenants said “If these reports are true this is, at long last, a step in the right direction for 5,000 pubs and 5,000 tied pub tenants provided the debt equity swap is done properly. GMB were pilloried when we called for this step to be taken in November 2010.
When the Spirit demerger was announced last March we reiterated this point as follows:  “The only real solution is to convert the debt to equity is a combined pub business as GMB proposed in November 2010. We said then that for a thriving pub sector we need pub companies charging open market rents to tenants who can compete on price in buildings refurbished to a high standard and where customer service and care is the top priority. That way there will be a decent income for all the stakeholders. This is still the case.”
GMB see this as an essential step in unwinding the madness of the private equity vast debts model which has blighted the likes of Southern Cross, Four Seasons, AA and the pubcos.
GMB, where allowed to do so, has played a very constructive role in the unwinding of debts in other sectors. I would welcome a private meeting with Roger Whiteside and Stephen Billingham to go over GMB’s experience of this debt unwinding process. GMB can set out what our members in the sector see as the way forward for a better future for all the stakeholders.”