The British Beer and Pub Association is petitioning for a total smoking ban in British pubs (see ASR 1/16/06). While several pubs have tried to get a partial ban passed -- the ban would not apply to pubs not offering food -- the recent push in Parliament has been to pass an all-out prohibition that only excludes private member's clubs. The British Beer and Pub Association argued that an exemption of these private member's clubs would damage the pub trade. At a recent teleconference, Paul Crawford, a Fitch Ratings analyst, said it's a wait-and-see situation regarding how the legislation pans out. However, looking at transactions with exposure to Scottish pub companies will, undoubtedly, be used as a learning experience to get up to date on how the ban might affect transactions with exposure to English pubs, Crawford said.

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