The Fair Pint Campaign

News: Fair Pint calls for FSA investigation into pubco practices

11th September 2008

The Fair Pint campaign has asked the Financial Services Authority to investigate the pubco practice of merging their ‘tangible’ and ‘intangible’ income streams.

The Fair Pint campaign want the tangible assets of tied pubs to reflect actual profit and the value of a pub’s assets on the open market.

Tangible assets should not reflect or include values such as “alternative uses of a pub” because these values are unproven. They should also not represent any special interest that may arise from a purchaser engaging in activities such as wholesaling.  For example, the supplementary income that a pubco, rather than an open market purchaser, could achieve through barrel discounts if they owned a pub.  The Fair Pint campaign wants any attributable value to be included as intangible (not tangible) assets.

Some major pubcos have included such intangible assets in their balance sheets as tangible assets. Figures taken from pubco accounts suggest that the merging of tangible and intangible assets values is effectively shoring-up greater borrowing on the back of inflated values.

The Fair Pint campaign is naturally concerned about whether the accounts of the pubcos provide a “true and fair view” as required by the Companies Act.  The campaign is questioning the extent to which inflated borrowing levels may be occurring as a consequence of asset merging of this kind.

Brian Jacobs, a member of the Fair Pint steering group, said:

“This is another example of the pubcos’ business model failing to provide an accurate representation reflecting current economic circumstances. The accounts of pubcos need examination and critical review. The evidence would suggest over-valuing of assets and over borrowing, both of which can lead to a crash which would resonate throughout the market.

“Fair Pint is calling on the FSA to investigate this situation fully, and we look forward to their response.”

ENDS

1. The Fair Pint campaign is a coalition of independent, tied landlords and industry experts that are seeking to highlight the plight of UK landlords and consumers who suffer as a result of ‘tied lease agreements’ to pub companies (pubcos).  The campaign is calling for the upcoming Business and Enterprise Committee’s inquiry into pubcos to recommend that the Trade and Industry Committee’s 2004 recommendations be enshrined in law.

2. To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact Hugo Legh or Sarah Hyder at Connect Public Affairs on 020 7222 3533 or info@fairpint.org.uk.

 
 
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