Speculation that pubs and bars may close in a ‘trade off’ with the reopening of schools has caused Stonegate bonds to dip just two weeks after their sale, the Financial Times reports.

Last month, the pubco sold £1.2bn of bonds to finance its acquisition of Ei Group – the largest sterling-denominated high-yield bond sale since 2013, consisting of five-year sterling and euro tranches worth £950m and €279m respectively.

The bonds were priced at 100 pence on the pound and 93 cents on the euro, but slipped as low as 93 pence and 87 cents this week.

According to the FT, the bond price movements are a result of growing concerns that if further local and national lockdowns are imposed because of a resurgence in the virus in the winter, that pubs would be the first to shut.

On Wednesday, the Children’s Commissioner for England said that if more local lockdowns are required, schools should be kept open at the expense of pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops.

This follows warnings earlier this month from government scientific advisor Professor Graham Medley, who told the BBC that there may need to be a “trade-off,” with the reopening of schools seen as a “priority” for children’s wellbeing.

“It might come down to a question of which do you trade off against each other, and then that’s a matter of prioritising,” he said. “Do we think pubs are more important than schools?”

Although Medley’s comments received a lot of coverage at the time, UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls has said that “there has been no signal from Government linking pubs and the reopening of schools, only a reassurance from Robert Jenrick that there are no such plans.

“This is not an either/or situation and the Government is well aware of the substantial financial and economic impacts a re-closing of venues would incur, inevitably resulting in permanent closures and significant job losses.”