Firm addresses fears Worcester pubs are at risk - The Worcester Observer

Firm addresses fears Worcester pubs are at risk

Worcester Editorial 19th Apr, 2024   0

THE UK’s largest pub company has moved to dispel fears that thousands of it’s pubs, including many in Worcester, are at risk.

In total, four pubs in Worcester and the district have been identified by the GMB Union as at risk due to Stonegate Pubs’ £2.2 billion arrears.

The pubs and bars at risk in the district include the Red Lion Inn in Powick, the Bell Inn in Lower Broadheath, the Crown Inn in Kempsey, and The Lenchford Inn in Shrawley.

These establishments have been identified among 300 at risk Stonegate venues across the West Midlands after the company announced it has yet agree new loans to replace debt due for repayment in June 2025.

Stonegate is one of the largest pub companies in the UK, with more than 4,500 pubs and more than 19,000 workers, including brands like Slug and Lettuce, Yates and Walkabout.

It is owned by TDR Capital, a private equity firms that also owns Asda.

The GMB Union has been warning of the possible fragility of Stonegate for a while after referring to Stonegate’s £2.2 billion hole as a ‘debt mountain’ back in January 2024.

Nadine Houghton, GMB national officer, said: “TDR bosses are private equity gamblers- playing fast and loose with people’s jobs and lives.

“When their risky ventures go wrong, they swan off to their next project, leaving workers and communities to pick up the pieces.

“Now, hundreds of much loved pubs across the West Midlands are in serious danger of pulling their last pint.

“It’s a disgrace.”

Stone Gate Pubs has referred to GMB’s warning as ‘misleading’.

A spokesperson for Stonegate, said: “We are really pleased with the performance of the business in 2023, which included a sector-leading Christmas trading period.

“We have delivered a rise in revenue and a significant increase in profitability.

“We have been very clear that we continue to work towards achieving our long-term balance sheet goals, with the successful refinancing of a portion of our estate in December marking a significant strategic step towards this.

“We would also like to assure our employees and partners that no venues are at risk as a result of this process.”

“TDR Capital has been and continues to be a supportive investor in Stonegate – developing the business over the last fourteen years into the UK’s largest pub company with 4,500 great venues across the country.”

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