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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 14th Dec 2016 - Punch confirms Heineken approach as shares shoot up 20%
Punch confirms Heineken approach as shares shoot up 20%: Punch has confirmed it has received a takeover approach from Heineken as the company’s shares shot up more than 20%. The pub operator’s shares were up 26.50p to 155p just after midday following reports by Sky News that Heineken was involved in a takeover battle to gain control. Heineken has made an approach to the board of Punch, but is facing competition from Alan McIntosh, a wealthy entrepreneur who was one of the company’s founders, reports Sky News. It said: "Any tie-up between Heineken, which already owns 1,100 leased pubs through its Star Pubs & Bars division, and Punch, which owns about 3,300 sites across the country, would be expected to face close scrutiny from competition regulators. Punch last month reported its first annual profit since 2013, and said it had reached the conclusion of a disposal programme aimed at reducing its huge debt pile. Its improvement in its financial performance under new chief executive Duncan Garrood comes after years of complex restructuring that included a demerger of Spirit, the managed pubs company, which was later bought by Greene King. McIntosh, who is said to be working with advisers at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, is understood to have pitched an offer at more than 180p a share, while Heineken’s bid may have been marginally below that level, sources said. Punch shares had been trading on Wednesday morning at about 129.40p, giving it a market value of £285m, although it still has significant debts." In the last 30 minutes Punch stated: “The board of Punch notes the recent speculation regarding possible offers for Punch. The board confirms that it has received a proposal from Patron Capital Advisers regarding a possible cash offer for Punch at 174 pence per Punch share (the ‘Patron Proposal’). As part of the Patron Proposal, Heineken would acquire Punch A (one of two securitisation structures within the Punch group) from Patron immediately following completion of Patron’s offer for Punch. The Patron Proposal is conditional on, amongst other things, the recommendation of the board. The board is in advanced discussions with Patron and Heineken regarding the Patron Proposal. The board also confirms that it has also received an approach from Emerald Investment Partners Limited regarding a possible cash offer for Punch at 185 pence per Punch share. The Emerald Proposal is conditional on, amongst other things, arranging committed financing, confirmatory due diligence, and the recommendation of the Board. The Board is in discussions with Emerald regarding the Emerald Proposal. As required by Rule 2.6(a) of the Code, Patron and Emerald are required, by not later than 5.00 p.m. on 11 January 2017, to either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Punch in accordance with Rule 2.7 of the Code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer, in which case the announcement will be treated as a statement to which Rule 2.8 of the Code applies. This deadline may be extended with the consent of the Takeover Panel in accordance with Rule 2.6(c) of the Code. There can be no certainty that any firm offer will be made by either Patron or Emerald. A further announcement will be made in due course.”

Gordon Ramsay secures ten-year Heathrow extension: Gordon Ramsay Group has secured a ten-year extension to its contract at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 for its site, Plane Food. The new agreement will enable the group to further enhance its offering that has helped transform the travel dining scene, from breakfast through to lunch and dinner, at the UK’s hub airport, since first opening its doors in 2008. Based in the departure lounge of Terminal 5, Plane Food serves more than 800 customers every day with à la carte dining, 25-minute express menus and on-board picnics. Kids also eat free – as they do in many Gordon Ramsay restaurants. As part of the renewed partnership, the Group will enhance the dining experience and develop the Plane Food picnic concept – which allows passengers to experience Gordon Ramsay food at 30,000 feet – when it re-opens in July 2017. The contract could potentially generate over £70 million in revenues for the Group over the period. Stuart Gillies, chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Group, said: “We are excited to continue our partnership with Heathrow, combining our expertise in dining and travel. Plane Food has provided a very good return on investment for the Group and also, as the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow has been the perfect location for us to showcase our offering to a discerning international audience of travellers. As we continue to expand globally, our work with an organisation that plays such a central role in connecting London to the rest of the world is extremely fitting.” Chris Annetts, Retail Director for Heathrow, said: “Since its opening in 2008, Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food has become a cornerstone of the Terminal 5 experience for so many of our passengers. We are proud to be continuing our partnership with the Gordon Ramsay Group and are excited about the state of the art dining concept the team are planning to unveil next summer.”

Comptoir acquires three Yalla Yalla sites from administration: Comptoir Group, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh, healthy and affordable Lebanese dishes, has acquired the assets of Agushia Limited from administration. Agushia Limited operates Lebanese-themed restaurant under the Yalla Yalla brand. The acquisition cost for the company is £400,000 which the Company will pay from its existing cash resources. Agushia Limited for the year ended 30 April 2016 reported audited turnover of £2.4million and a pre-tax loss of £10,000. The assets acquired had an unaudited net value of £203,691 as at 31 October 2016. As part of the acquisition Comptoir has acquired three Yalla Yalla branded restaurants. Comptoir will continue, for the time being, to operate each of the restaurants under the Yalla Yalla brand.

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