Fears 650 Stonegate Pubs at Risk Over ‘Refinance’ £2.6bn Debt Union Warns

More than 650 Stonegate pubs across the South East, Dorset and Wiltshire could be at risk as private equity parent company TDR capital seeks to refinance £2.5 billion of debt , warns GMB union.

Stonegate assert that the company remains resilient, your Gary Lindsay, boss of TDR Capital which also owns supermarket giant Asda, told the Business and Trade Select Committee on Tuesday [9 January] he was ‘confident’ £2.6 billion of debts in the Stonegate Pub Company could be refinanced this year.

However, with current high interest rates, GMB Union is concerned refinancing could lead to crippling payments to service the debt, 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.

Stonegate has more than 650 pubs in the South East and in Dorset and Wiltshire.

Justin Bowden, GMB Southern Regional Secretary, said: ““The position with the Stonegate Pub Company’s finances is equally lacking in transparency, with the ultimate holding company based in the Cayman Islands.

“TDR Capital must be accountable to local people and they have a duty to safeguard the 650 local pubs which are vital community assets.

“GMB’s experience with private equity owners has been, and continues to be, wholly negative.

“We fear for the future of our local supermarkets and pubs in the hands of their private equity owners.

A spokesman for Stonegate said: “we continue to invest in our pubs and our people, in particular supporting local pubs which play such a key role in their communities. Our put business remains very resilient despite the challenges are interested faces, with good like for like sales and growth across the group. Following our recent successful financing announced in December as well as strong recent trading, we are well placed to deliver on our long-term objectives, and we are very confident in our ability to refinance at the appropriate time”.