Punch Taverns has insisted that the administration of pub management company Publicana, which operates sites for it and other major pubcos, does not present major difficulties,writes Paul Charity. The Blackpool-based firm was set up in 2007 and specialises in taking over under-performing venues and temporary management sites. Industry sources suggest that Begbies Traynor was appointed administrator last week. A new company, Norfolk-based GT Pubs, registered with Companies House on 18 March, is believed to be looking to take over the management of the sites. Punch Taverns is understood to have around a dozen sites under temporary management with Publicana — and three pubs let to it on more substantive leases. A Punch spokesman insisted the company doesn’t have a lot of sites run by Publicana and it would now be talking to the administrator about transferring them to a different management company. Publicana turned over £7m in 2007 and said it expected the figure to rise to £35m this. It employed 20 full-time staff. The Morning Advertiser understands that it runs around 80 pubs. Publicana was formed when managing director David Morse’s left GRS Inns as it merged with London Town a couple of years ago. At one stage it is thought Publicana was managing in excess of 130 outlets nationally. Last year, Morse was talking about expanding the company by buying freeholds. He said: “Independent pub management is a powerful growth sector at the moment and we intend to develop the huge potential in the freehold sector. "A substantial number of freehold properties are on the market and we now have the funding in place to embark on a major acquisition programme.” He added: ”We are a cost to pub companies and breweries, so it’s a question of ensuring that they fully understand the value of what it is that we do. “We are also starting to work with large insolvency firms which involve operating businesses that have entered into insolvency and need to be disposed of.” An industry source said: “The administration of Publicana is a shock — the company appeared to be very profitable.”