THE creditors of Punch Taverns have urged the pub company to reopen negotiations over a restructuring of its debt and said they will not support an earlier proposal to avoid a default. The company announced it was embarking on a debt reduction plan earlier this month, after being hit hard by Britain's economic downturn, and is trying to reduce its pound(s)2.3 billion debt pile. Punch's debt structure is complex, with debt split into two securitised vehicles, Punch A and Punch B, and bondholders rejected a proposal put forward last year stating it was too generous to shareholders and junior creditors. The pub firm then put forward a revised proposal this month of a debt extension and a reduction in the amount that will be repaid to creditors. But sources close to the bondholders said the creditors had found issues with the commercial terms, the structure of the new notes and the documentation. Creditors ABI Senior Noteholder Committee, Angelo Gordon , Oaktree Capital Management and Warwick Capital Partners yesterday said they were unable to support the revised proposals and would vote against them. A vote on the restructuring is scheduled to take place on February 14 . Punch, headed by Stephen Billingham , said it was available for further discussions on the proposals. Punch shares fell 1.75p, or 11%, to 14.25p.
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