Robert Tchenguiz last night injected more than £50m into his troubled Laurel Pub Company, as part of a rescue refinancing that will see the firm split into two companies. The entrepreneur yesterday bought back much of the Laurel estate from administrators Kroll, in a series of transactions through his R20 investment vehicle. The deal, which valued Laurel at between £300m and £400m, allows Tchenguiz to offload the 90 loss-making sites with onerous leases that were at the root of the problem. Tchenguiz' bankers, Dresdner Kleinwort and Kaupthing, had refused to refinance the estate if it retained the 90 underperforming outlets. The Tchenguiz family trust will also inject £50m-£60m into the businesses, to ensure that suppliers and staff do not lose money. In addition, the move will mean that Laurel's pension liabilities are fully covered and its bankers' positions are also covered. Under the terms of the refinancing, premises licences at wet-led sites such as Litten Tree, Yates and Hog's Head are being transferred to a new company – Town and City Pub Company, which will be headed by Toby Smith, currently a senior executive at Laurel. Town & City will comprise 161 pubs and bars comprising mainly of Yates’s, together with an unbranded portfolio of quality managed pubs and bars. Licences of the more food led areas of the business such as La Tasca and Slug & Lettuce are to be transferred to a second new company – Bay Restaurant Group, which will be led by Paul Symons, currently Laurel chief executive. Bay Restaurants will become one of the leading operators in the casual dining market with 217 units across three restaurant brands, comprising 84 Slug & Lettuce, 24 ha ha bar & grill and 24 pipeline sites, together with 85 La Tasca outlets, which, as part of the transaction, is being merged with Bay Restaurants to create the new restaurant company which will be the fourth largest casual dining operator in the UK. Whilst each business will be independent of the other, Ian Payne will be chairman of both companies. He said: “We are confident that both the restaurant and pubs and bars portfolios acquired today are high quality and robust. With the refinancing of both Bay Restaurant Group and Town & City Pub Company now complete, both businesses have a solid platform from which to expand, grow and maximise their future potential.”