Punch set to make £500m… For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

18 April 2006
Punch set to make £500m… For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Punch set to raise £500m through pub sales
Britain's biggest landlord Punch Taverns could raise more than £500m by selling off about 290 of the pubs it bought from Spirit Group. Punch spent £2.68b on more than 1,800 pubs when it took over the privately-owned group last December. The company said at the time it would convert about 750 of SpiritDaily Telegraph, 14 April

Irish pub chain report big losses
Ireland's Thomas Read pub group made pre-tax losses of €1.2m (£830,000) in the year to May 2005, compared with a profit of €194,000 (£134,263) in the previous year. The company owns over a dozen pubs in Dublin. - Irish independent, 14 April

Tchenguiz wants to meet with M&B over rejected bid
Robert Tchenguiz, the property entrepreneur, fired the opening shot yesterday in his campaign to win shareholder support for his attempt to buy Mitchells & Butlers, the pub and restaurant group, for £4.6b. Mr Tchenguiz is understood to be preparing to meet shareholders after the Easter weekend, despite the company immediately rejecting his offer. - The Times, 14 April

Slow sales reported in UK by McDonald's
Obesity fears in the UK continued to weigh on the fast-food chain McDonald's, as it reported a 5.2% rise in total sales in the first quarter. However, in Europe same-store sales rose only 2% in the period - the weakest gain in three quarters - hurt by UK consumers' obesity concerns. - Daily Telegraph, 15 April

Taxman targets hospitality industry again
The tax authorities are drawing up plans to launch a huge crackdown on restaurants and hotels after calculating that they are avoiding paying £1b in VAT a year. This would be the second assault HM Revenue & Customs has launched on restaurants in the past year after its botched "Operation Gourmet", which attempted to collect unpaid national insurance contributions on waiters' tips. - Daily Telegraph, 15 April

Survey says McDonald's is least ethical of big brands
British consumers believe that McDonald's is the least ethical of high-profile corporations, according to a new survey. The unwanted accolade follows sustained criticism of the burger giant's unhealthy fare and provides further evidence that McDonald's - for years the most successful retail brand in the world - is increasingly out of step with a body-conscious society. - The Observer, 16 April

Tchenguiz may switch banks in M&B bid
R20, the investment vehicle owned by Iranian-born property entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz, is in talks with Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and HSBC to replace Goldman Sachs in the financial consortium bidding £4.6b for Mitchells & Butlers. - The Business, 16 April

Compass plan move into support services
The new chief executive of Compass plans to transform the company by making a big push into the support services sector as he seeks to draw a line under the group's troubled history. Richard Cousins will become chief executive in June and plans to double revenues from support services such as providing cleaning, laundry, security and portering services alongside the company's traditional catering offerings. - Sunday Telegraph, 16 April

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