Tom Aikens escapes £3m-worth of debts – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

12 January 2009 by
Tom Aikens escapes £3m-worth of debts – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Tom Aikens escapes £3m-worth of debtsRead the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Jamie Oliver and Joanna Lumley champion battery pigs After highlighting the plight of battery hens last year, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is teaming up with actress Joanna Lumley to draw attention to the "physically and psychologically harrowing" conditions inflicted on pigs. Jamie Saving Our Bacon shows cruel practices such as castration without anaesthetic and the confinement of pregnant sows to narrow farrowing stalls - a fate that Lumley will enact while students spend 24 hours living in a mock-up of the stalls. As lax labelling standards mean meat from pigs that have been largely confined indoors can be described as free-range, Oliver will also call for clearer definitions so consumers can make meaningful choices - 11 January, Read the full articles in the Independent on Sunday]( and the [Sunday Times>> ](

RBS seeks buyers for its 1,000 pubs -
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is seeking potential buyers for the estate of around 1,000 leased and tenanted pubs that it acquired between 2000 and 2001 for £450m from Scottish & Newcastle (S&N). At the time of the acquisition, RBS said, "This is a purely financial deal which provides us with a high quality income stream." Analysts say the pubs, which are worth around £600m and earn about £70m, have attracted interest from at least three property investment companies and a trade player, but warn that funds would be hard to acquire. The pubs are run by S&N Pub Enterprises (S&NPE) on long-term contracts that would not be affected by a sale. S&NPE runs 2,000 pubs on behalf of property investors, including 424 owned by Robert Tchenguiz's Globe Pub Company which, it emerged last week, is at risk of administration after breaching its covenants. - 10 January, Read the full article in The Times >>

More gloom expected from Punch Taverns
Beleagured pub company Punch Taverns is expected to reveal a 5% drop in like-for-like sales over Christmas at its annual shareholders meeting on Wednesday, which is likely to attract hostile questions from shareholders alarmed over the group's £4.5 billion debts. Punch, whose share price has slumped by nearly 90% over the past year, is trying to tackle its problems by offloading 500 of its worst-performing pubs. Its joint broker Morgan Stanley believes the company will need to pay out more this year to aid its struggling tenants. "We expect the company to announce that rent concessions and tenant support have increased in the quarter - these totalled £14m in 2008," it said in a research note on Friday. - 11 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

InterContinental plans 20 more Holiday Inns in Germany
Intercontinental Hotels Group, the world's largest hotel operator, has signed a deal with Foremost Hospitality to open 20 new hotels by 2016 in Germany under its Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands. The expansion will boost the number of Holiday Inns in Germany to 75. - 11 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

Chicago Rock Café owner transfers 28 bars to Martin King 3D Entertainment has transferred 28 bars (almost one-third of its estate) to nightclub operator Martin King, who will run the outlets under licence. The move leaves 3D (which is 49%-owned by listed club operator Luminar) free to concentrate on its chain of Chicago Rock Café bars. Other investors in 3D include property group Westbury and 3D management. - 11 January, Read the full article in the Sunday Times >>

By Angela Frewin

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