Well, knock me down with a feather! The announcement that Punch Taverns pre-tax profits fell from £52 million, to just £17 million in the last twelve months, comes as no surprise.
In the group's own words, they said:"Our future is in danger, unless an agreement can be reached with our lenders."
I don't hold out too much hope for this debt-laden, large business enterprise. Let's face it, if you cannot reach an agreement for debt, then you default. Lenders will then request early payment of the outstanding debt.
So are Punch Taverns on the slippery slope to bankruptcy? If so, I don't think many tears of sadness will be shed. Some may say: "good riddance to bad rubbish!"
Is it fair to say that they have ripped-off many licensees, with
their unfair rent assessment and excessive beer pricing - whilst
letting many boozers fall into disrepair? Some of the pubs are in a very run-down state.
Some tenants have told me that taking on a Punch Tavern lease, is likely to be a recipe for bankruptcy!
Punch have never efficiently organised their massive debt pile - and if they do go 'tits-up' - then some lenders may show the same level of sympathy that Punch have shown to some of their former tenants!
The company's buying spree during the credit boom has undoubtably backfired. And they never recovered from the acquisition of the Spirit Pub Company, in 2008( demerged in 2011 ) when the recession began to kick-in and property prices began to fall.
So what is the future of this much maligned pub company? I reckon it's pretty bleak - and I hear some of you saying: "Good riddance!"