The biggest pub company in the country rubbished reports of pub closures in Bolton and across the North West.

Stonegate Group said a statement by GMB Union making out hundreds of its sites could close was "misleading".

Formed in 2010, it is the biggest pub company in the country after the acquisition of big brands including Slug & Lettuce and Yates and it owns around 4,500 pubs including, in Bolton, The Balmoral on Bradshawgate and The Elephant and Castle on Deansgate.

GMB Union said in a statement last week at least some pubs were at risk of pulling their last pint due to difficulties with refinancing more than two billion pounds of debts at Stonegate Group, which is owned by Asda co-owner and private equity firm TDR Capital.

ALSO READ: Bolton: Ruling on plan to turn Star and Garter into HMO.

Nadine Houghton, GMB National Officer, said: "TDR bosses are private equity gamblers playing fast and loose with people's jobs and lives. When their ventures go wrong, they swan off to their next project, leaving workers and communities to pick up the pieces. 

"Now hundreds of pubs across the North West are now in serious danger of pulling their last pint. It is a disgrace."

A Stonegate Group spokesperson rubbished the reports of pub closures.

They pointed towards "sector-leading" performance at the end of last year.

ALSO READ: Westhoughton: Plan for homes in car park of White Horse.

A Stonegate Group spokesperson said: "We are pleased with the performance of the business which included a sector-leading Christmas trading period. We have delivered a rise in revenue and a significant increase in profitability. 

"We have been very clear we continue to work towards achieving our long-term balance sheet goals, with the successful refinancing of a portion of our estate in December [last year] marking a significant strategic step towards this. 

"We would also like to assure our employees and partners that no venues are at risk as a result of this process.

"TDR has been and continues to be a supportive investor in Stonegate - developing the business into the UK's largest pub company with 4,500 great venues across the country."

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.