Embattled pub group Punch Taverns has brought in an independent restructuring adviser to restructure its £2.3bn debt.
Dean Merritt of Talbot Hughes McKillop will represent the companies that issued Punch Taverns’ debt, as the firm seeks to resolve its long-running dispute with lenders.
The firm today (15 April) announced its interim results for the 28 weeks to 1 March 2014, revealing a profit of £50m, including £30 million of profits attributable to bond purchases.
Like-for-like sales rose by 1.4% while profit-per-pub grew 4% across the company’s 4,000 pubs.
Stephen Billingham, executive chairman of Punch Taverns plc, said: “We have delivered profits for the half year in line with our expectations.
“Our results reflect the significant operational changes we have made over the last 15 months which are now embedded in the business. We have returned the core estate to growth and delivered a 4% improvement in average profit per pub across our 4,000 pub estate.
“We are on track to deliver our full year profit expectations and start the second half of the year backed by the increased level of Partner operational support that will further strengthen the performance of our pubs.”
A statement accompanying the company’s results said the restructuring plan is continuing via “extensive engagement with a wide group of stakeholders” with the board maintaining the view that “a consensual restructuring is in the best interests of all stakeholders”.
Billingham added: “Proactive engagement on the restructuring discussions is continuing and we urge all stakeholders to support the covenant waiver requests to provide the business with stability and time to effect a consensual restructuring of the group’s financing arrangements.”