More than 4500 pubs across the UK, including Slug & Lettuce branches, are at risk of closing as the business owner deals with £2.6 billion worth of debt.

All Stonegate pubs in the UK could soon close their doors, according to GMB Union, as the owner TDR Capital seeks to "refinance" £2.6 billion of debt.

Gary Lindsay, Boss of TDR Capital which also owns supermarket giant Asda, told the Business and Trade Select Committee on Tuesday (January 9) he was "confident" £2.6 billion of debts in the Stonegate Pub Company could be refinanced this year.

However, GMB said this may be difficult due to high interest rates and raised concerns that attempts to refinance could lead to "crippling" payments required to service the debt.

Echo: More than 4500 pubs in the UK are at risk of closing according to the GMB Union. More than 4500 pubs in the UK are at risk of closing according to the GMB Union. (Image: Getty Images)

 

GMB Regional Secretary, Justin Bowden, 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."

The more than 4500 Stonegate pubs at risk of closure

Stonegate is one of the largest pub companies in the UK, with more than 4,500 pubs including in locations like London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

These pubs are responsible for more than 19,000 jobs.

Echo: See the pub brands that come under the Stonegate company name.See the pub brands that come under the Stonegate company name. (Image: Stonegate Group)

The Stonegate company includes brands like: 

  • Be at One
  • Proper Pubs
  • Pub & Dining
  • Slug & Lettuce
  • Social Pub & Kitchen
  • Sports Bar & Grill

The company is also in partnership with a number of other pub brands including Frontier Pubs, Six Cheers and Old Spot.

'Our pub business remains resilient' - Stonegate confident of long term future

Addressing the claims all of the companies more than 4500 UK pubs could close, a Stonegate spokesperson said: "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.”