11th-hour loan for `Sunday Business'

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The Independent Online
A last-minute bridging loan clinched yesterday meant Britain's first business-only Sunday newspaper is expected to be able to launch this weekend. But payment of Sunday Business's 90 staff, which was due last night, has been put off until next week.

"The new finance covers this issue's printing and marketing, but it does not remove all problems. Pay will depend on the extent of new backing," a spokesman said.

The launch, which has been dogged by setbacks and already postponed once, was put in jeopardy earlier this week when the project lost its main potential backer. Payment difficulties led to both the main printer, West Ferry Printers, and the advertising agency, ARC Advertising, breaking links with Sunday Business in the past few days.

Frantic efforts by senior executives to find a fresh cash injection to carry through the launch weekend were said to have been rewarded in the early hours of Friday morning when an unnamed group of private individuals put up some money.

"It is enough to take us through the first issue, but there are still things to be tied up," said Anil Bhoyru, associate editor and co-founder of the paper along with Tom Rubython, editor.

Sunday Business said yesterday it had secured the services of a printer in Derby for the main section of the newspaper. West Ferry Printers, the joint venture between the Telegraph group and United News & Media, had demanded payment by Wednesday before agreeing to print 300,000 copies from the planned 580,000 run of the six-section paper. The money was not forthcoming and the contract was cancelled.

Sunday Business said it had rapidly put together a budget television advertisement with an unnamed media agency which it planned to show just before the launch. But a senior editor said last night even this limited campaign might not go ahead.

The original agency working with Sunday Business, ARC Advertisement, which has considerable experience in newspaper promotion, said it had pulled the plug earlier this week. "We ceased working for Sunday Business because there is no money to continue the project," said Tim Coton, business development director at ARC.

Last month, Sunday Business announced it would launch on 21 April and promised a "powerful mix of news, analysis, views and features written for people in business, finance and industry". But the withdrawal of the main potential backer last Tuesday, the Hinduja brothers, who run a Bombay- based international investment business, threw plans into last-minute disarray.