The head of Solihull-based Enterprise Inns has said the pub company is in good trading form, quashing rumours the firm was struggling with debt.
Ted Tuppen said the banking covenants at the ‘pubco’ were not in danger of being breached, and said the fortunes of the firm were looking good, despite its shares being downgraded by some analysts recently.
In a trading statement, chief executive Tuppen said there had been “no material change” to trading since an interim management statement released in January, and none of the downgrades affecting the group had any implications to its finances.
He went on to say he was confident that “adequate banking facilities will be available at the appropriate time”, adding: “in the meantime, we have in place a sensible plan for debt reduction over the next two years and will continue to review all options in the debt markets”.
Enterprise has a bank facility of £1?billion which is due for renewal in May 2011.
Pubs have been hit by the drop in consumer demand, combined with strong competition from supermarkets who use alcohol as a loss leader and the effects of the smoking ban. Pub companies like Enterprise have often had to raise beer prices at their pubs in response.
Speaking about the group’s trading, Mr Tuppen said January was “relatively strong, February was hit by two weeks of bad weather and March has been steady.”
He added: “The majority of our pubs continue to trade remarkably well. However we recognise that some licensees, despite their best efforts, are struggling in the current circumstances and we continue to provide financial support through special price discounts and rent concessions where appropriate.”