Friday, July 01, 2011

Punch tenants get freehold warning

RBS have stated publicly that they want to sell their pub freeholds. They have about 900 of them 'managed' (read: 'train wrecked') by Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company. My lease has never stacked up. It wass sold coming free of tie in 1998 or esle I never would have signed but I was blackmailed into signing a deed of variation in 1997 which made me lose the right to be free of tie - an act made under duress which cost me £hundreds of thousands in perennial losses ever since. I've been pushing the graphically real case that my lease is financially unsustainable for over seven years now (one of the reasons I'm a founder member of Fair Pint is what I've learned from this dreadful experience acquired whilst trapped in an onerous tied lease) and S&NPC just pretend that I'm a useless tenant who doesn't know how to control his overheads:

"if I had your kind of turnover I'd be spending six months a year in the Bahamas not whining on to my regional director about my rent and beer prices" etc etc

Anyhow. Having made it clear that I could raise the cash for the freehold but not get a penny's investment against the lease I offered £700K about three years ago, rejected out of hand "we don't sell freeholds, in fact we're buying them". I passed this news on to RBS and lo and behold S&NPC came back to me 'So. You're still interested in the freehold then? Make us another offer with proof of finance and we'll consider it" So I did. £850K. They got the place valued. It took four or five months - you know hoe responsive they are - and they came back to me "thanks for your offer, it's well below open market value so no thanks". Various advisers reckon S&NPC / RBS will have it on the books for a minimum £1.3mill. Probably more like £1.7mill. RBS is looking for an average of £660K per site through Sapient. My freehold is not within reach.

And no one, anywhere up and down the chain of 'command' where no one is in charge of anything in this estate, can make a decision to sell off anything and the whole caboodle just gets more and more run into the ground, rotting, while all their salary cheques keep getting banked. Even the ones for 'gardening leave'. Ha!

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