Friday, 25 March 2011

The Joke That Keeps Giving

Call it rubber-necking if you like, but it's difficult not to look on as the car crash continues to hurtle over the cliff.

Embattled pubs group Punch Taverns said a demerger of its Spirit unit was one of the options it considered in a strategic review initiated to find ways to cut its 3 billion pounds ($4.9 billion) debt.

Punch's tenanted pubs have been hit by a UK smoking ban, duty increases and the economic downturn and Dyson had previously said he wanted to reduce the estate from a peak of 7,500 pubs to a core of 4,700.

Punch shares, which have slumped from a high of 1,150 pence in 2007, were up 4.9 percent to 72.3 pence at 1356GMT, valuing the business at 465 million pounds, well below the level of the company's debt.
Crikey! How things have changed since those chipper comments in 2007, eh?

Francis Patton, [Punch Taverns] customer services director said: “Too many people are looking at the smoking ban as a threat, but we know this is a huge opportunity. The smoking ban is a great opportunity to get new customers (who want to eat) into pubs and also keep people there who go regularly.”

And the best bit?

Punch said a number of options had been considered as part of a review of its strategy, performance and structure including a spin-off of its Spirit unit.
Fighting back against one of the fundamental, state-enforced, reasons for their predicament might bring them a more profitable result. But they seem intent on continuing to make us laugh, bless 'em.


Smoking Hot said...

At this rate it'll be cheaper buying a pub than a house. May consider one and make it into a house ... but a public one! That'd get the council and ASH into a righteous rage ... all my 'friends' drinking and smoking.

Call it Smoking Hot m'thinks

Anonymous said...

As an ex-publican (free house, not punch taverns), nothing would make me happier than to see this rabble go bankrupt. They have destroyed more pubs with their rental charges than anything the government have done.

Anonymous said...

Yes, bless 'em indeed.

And now that they are blessed, may they also rot in hell with the rest of the anti-smoking hatefuls who brought us what will become the most memorable tyranny of this time period when history looks back one day at the current prohibition with disgust and warnings.

I see BBC melo-dramas in the far future with clandestine smokers in period costumes of the 2007's through 2011's hiding for their lives behind sheds and in alleyways while police stage raids on smokers driving through in their cars.

Blessed be the smoker, for he shall inherit the pub.

Anonymous said...

Blessed be the smoker, for he shall inherit the smoky-drinky, pub be damned.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Yes of course this is partly smoking ban related, but these pub businesses are completely mental, they seem to have spent the last ten or twenty years selling each other blocks of hundreds or thousands of pubs for ever higher prices and doing 'rebranding' exercises.

This lot just happened to be left holding the baby when the music stopped. So this time they'll be doing a 'leveraged buy out' or 'debt for equity swap' or 'portfolio demerger' of some such shenanigans which you do when markets are tanking.

Anonymous said...

It's quite funny watching these dickheads claiming to know what customers want. Perhaps understandable - after all, who in their right minds would refuse an offer of free advice from professional business consultants ASH?

Anonymous said...

Fuck the Pubco's they've been sucking ASH's cock since the ban threatened to leave private clubs alone, and wanted "a level playing field" - ie everyone to be fucked over equally.

That goes for those arseholes at CAMRA too.

Just my 2 cents worth...

Anonymous said...

There is a perverse delight is watching the pub sector destroy itself - and all because it did nothing to resist the evil smoking ban.
That whole sector had sold its soul to the Nanny State Devil two years before when it secretly traded accepting the smoking ban in exchange for getting 24-hour drinking. Wrong call - and the rest is history.
All the other issues of recession, taxes and rents etc. are secondary - pubs have survived worse - it was only the smoking ban which deprived them of their best and most reliable customers.
If I'm honest, I do miss going to pubs or restaurants a few times a week, but not so much that I'll ever compromise my principles - if they all go bust, close down and rot in Hell, it will be too good for them.
Feel some sorrow for the individual landlords and staff but they chose whose bed they shared, so they go down too.