Aberdeen pubs amongst over 4,500 at risk across UK as Stonegate owner TDR Capital seeks to ‘refinance’ £2.6 billion debt

Aberdeen's Foundry is one of the pubs 'at risk', according to GMDBUnion's list of Stonegate-owned hostelries

GMB Union has highlighted the potential risk to more than 4.500 Stonegate pubs in the UK, as parent company TDR Capital seeks to refinance £2.5 billion of debt.

Amongst the UK-wide list of pubs owned by Stonegate on a list distributed by GMB Union are Aberdeen’s Slaine’s Castle, Triplekirks, Foundry, Bobbin, Murdos and Black Dog.

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The Union has warned that Stonegate Pub Company’s finances lack transparency, with the ultimate holding company based in the Cayman Islands.

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. [See attached for full list of Stonegate pubs]

Justin Bowden, GMB Regional Secretary, said:

“The position with the Stonegate Pub Company’s finances is 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 4,500 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 has also commented:

“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 pub business remains very resilient despite the challenges our industry faces, with good like-for-like sales 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 longer term objectives and we are very confident in our ability to re-finance at the appropriate time.”

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