Standard & Poor's last week affirmed the ratings of Pubmaster Finance Ltd and Punch Taverns Finance Plc, following the release of interim results by the Punch Group at the end of April, which indicated that while a slowdown in consumer spending - particularly in beer sales - continued, there was no increase in the number of tenants in difficulty and there has been no deterioration in trading performance.

Both transactions, issued by Punch Taverns, continue to perform in line with S&P's initial expectations and continue maintaining a debt service coverage ratio above the required levels with no use of the liquidity facilities. The Punch Group did not say whether it plans to tap either of its two securitizations at the moment but said it would leave the option open for investigation. In the ABS markets triple-B to single-A pub spreads have moved wider relative to the water and care home sector, reported Merrill Lynch analysts. But spreads in the sector stabilized last week, however there was no active bidding for this paper.

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