Punch Taverns puts 300 more pubs on market

Author: By James Moore

Punch has appointed Christie, the property agent, to handle the disposal of
the pubs ? about 70 of which are new to the market with a further 230 being
?relaunched? – many at revised prices to stimulate interest.

Punch has more than 8,000 pubs, most of them leased. All of those being put on
the market are from the leased division with prices ranging from nil-premium
leases to as much as £500,000.

Over 90 per cent of the sites are freehold and most are available with vacant
possession.

Neil Morgan, Christie & Co?s Head of Pubs, said: ?We expect the majority of
these pubs to continue to be operated as licensed premises, although a
significant number will provide ideal alternative-use opportunities across
the residential, commercial and retail sectors.?

Licensed premises have been under pressure during the downturn with pubs
closing at an alarming rate as customers have reigned in their spending.

The company last month said it would transfer another 450 sites to its
turnaround unit ? set up to give a boost to underperforming pubs – after
selling about a third of the 1250 properties placed in it.

It is hoped that the sales will raise proceeds to further reduce the company?s
debt mountain which stands at around £3.5 bn, down a £1 bn over the last
financial year.

Punch shares which dropped from 1,398p in May 2007 to a low of 28.29 pence at
the beginning of the year. However, they closed down 1.3p at 122p which
values the group at around £780m.

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