Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! The Red Lion’s owner Punch Taverns is back in the financial pages of the press this week. But for all of the wrong reasons! Earlier this week this blog signposted visitors to this site to the Daily Telegraph article about how debt laden - £2.3bn – Punch Taverns was struggling to keep its head above water.
The financial pages had clearly been expecting Punch Taverns latest financial news, none the less it doesn’t look bright for Punch. Its annual pre-tax profit slumped by a whopping 68%. It continues to dump assets. It continues – two years & counting now – to try to restructure its debt.
Punch tried & failed to get shareholder agreement in June to a debt restructuring. That failed. Now Punch appears to have a few more months to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and get its debt restructuring sorted. The Telegraph sees foreclosure looming.
So, one has to ask wouldn’t Punch be only too happy to maximise its income, however small, in these difficult times? It appears not! Save The Red Lion Campaign has told Punch Taverns agent, Jones Lang laSalle, which is trying to sell the Red Lion, that we are interested in doing so. And in response the Campaign is pushed away. So, another 6 months will go by without anyone putting money on the table to buy the pub as no one else other than the Campaign can do that until mid March 2014.
Punch’s strategy is now clear! The hordes of potential purchasers will come running with bags of money next March. That strategy work for the 6 months since Punch put the pub up for sale. Not!
If you were in debt, wouldn’t you want to maximise your income to reduce the debt & your repayments? Selling a pub that you don’t want anyway might be a way of raising income, reducing debt & reducing debt repayments – even a little bit.
Save The Red Lion Campaign is willing to buy the pub. Not at any price, but at the right price. But is Punch or is its agent able or willing to do a deal? Answers on a postcard please!
Read the financial press articles –
Daily Telegraph, 26 September –
Financial Times, 26 September -
Guardian, 25 September -
Publicans Morning Advertiser -