Punch Taverns says 65 pct of noteholders back restructuring plan

Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:10am EDT

Aug 18 (Reuters) - Punch Taverns Plc said owners of about 65 percent of its notes now supported its plan to restructure about 2.3 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) of debt, up from about 59 percent in June.

Punch, which began the process of restructuring its debt in 2012, said shareholders controlling about 54 percent of its equity supported the complex restructuring, little changed from June.

The plan needs support of at least 75 percent of votes cast at noteholder and shareholder meetings on Sept. 17.

The company, which has received covenant waivers pending the restructuring, said on Monday that a failure to secure approval for the plan could lead to a default.

Punch still has to secure the backing of lenders including the Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Lloyds Bank Plc, Citibank and MBIA UK Insurance Ltd.

Under the restructuring plan released in June, Punch's net debt would drop by about 600 million pounds and result in shareholders retaining just 15 percent of the company.

Up to Friday's close, Punch's stock had fallen more than 23 percent since the beginning of the year.

The company's shares, which were untraded by 1108 GMT on Monday, closed at 9.2 pence on Friday.

Punch, like many pub owners, was hit hard by Britain's double-dip recession. The company's revenue fell almost 7 percent in the year ended Aug. 17, 2013. (Reporting by Esha Vaish and Roshni Menon in Bangalore; Editing by Ted Kerr)

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