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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 1st Oct 2014 - Greene King hires JDW finance director
Greene King hires JDW finance director: Greene King has hired JD Wetherspoon’s finance director as its new chief financial officer. Matthew Fearn, Greene King’s chief financial officer, has been absent from work since February with a long-term illness. Greene King stated: “Matthew is still undergoing medical treatment and is regrettably not likely to be in a position to return to work for some time. Agreement has been reached with him that he should stand down as a director with immediate effect so that he and his family can focus on his health. The board has appointed Kirk Davis as chief financial officer in his place and he is expected to join the company, and the board, in the New Year. Kirk joined JD Wetherspoon in 2008 as deputy finance director and has been its finance director since March 2011. He has extensive experience in the retail sector having previously worked in senior finance roles in Tesco and Marks & Spencer.” Rooney Anand, Greene King chief executive officer, said: “We are very sorry to see Matthew step down, particularly in these very sad circumstances. I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his huge contribution to Greene King over the past few years. The board, his colleagues and I wish him and his family the very best. At the same time, I am pleased to welcome Kirk to the company. He has extensive and relevant financial experience, both in consumer retail and more recently in the pub sector. The board and I want to welcome him to Greene King and look forward to working with him.” Tim Martin, chairman of JD Wetherspoon, said: “I’d like to thank Kirk for his work over the last six years and I wish him well with his future career. The Board of JD Wetherspoon has begun the process of identifying an appropriate successor.”

Enterprise Inns completes refinancing terms and new bank facility: Enterprise Inns (ETI) has agreed the terms of a partial refinancing of its 2018 bonds. The partial refinancing will result in a lower interest cost to ETI and an extended debt maturity, through proactively addressing the 2018 bonds. The Company has also agreed the terms on which its existing bank facility will be replaced by a new revolving credit facility on improved terms. Completion of the refinancing transactions is expected to take place on or about 7 October 2014 and is subject to final documentation and other standard conditions being met. ETI has received and accepted tender instructions for £249,521,000 of its outstanding 6.5% secured bonds due 2018 pursuant to the terms of its previously-announced tender offer. The bonds will be purchased at a cash purchase price of 108.75% of their principal amount. In connection with the tender and purchase, a new issue of £249,521,000 of secured bonds has been priced with a maturity of October 2023 and a coupon of 6.00%. This new issue will benefit from a security package on substantially the same terms as the tendered and purchased 2018 bonds. ETI has also signed a new £138 million non-amortising revolving credit facility which, upon completion of the refinancing, will be available through to September 2018. This extends the maturity of the company’s previous facility and also benefits from improved terms, simplified covenants and lower pricing with a new interest rate of 300 basis points above LIBOR. This facility will replace the existing amortising facility, which currently stands at just over £140 million, with applicable interest rates of 400 and 450 basis points above LIBOR. The new bank facility will be provided by Deutsche Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, BNP Paribas and Lloyds Bank. Deutsche Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland acted as Dealer Managers for the bond tender and along with Barclays were Global-Coordinators of the new bond issue, with BNP Paribas and Lloyds Bank acting as Bookrunners on the new issue. Chief executive Simon Townsend said: “The success of this proactive refinancing builds upon the positive momentum we are delivering within the business. The continued support of our core relationship banks and bondholders is further evidence of the strength of the Enterprise Inns business and our secure, long term capital structure. We continue to work hard to deliver improving returns to all stakeholders and these actions are another important step forward in this regard.”

FCA investigation into Tesco finances has begun: Tesco has reported that a Financial Conduct Authority investigation into the company has begun. Tesco stated: “The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has notified Tesco that it has commenced a full investigation following the £250m overstatement of expected profit for the half year which was described in our announcement of 22 September 2014 and which is currently the subject of an independent review by Deloitte. Tesco will continue to co-operate fully with the FCA and other relevant authorities considering this matter.”

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