Deal on GPA put back to October

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The Independent Online
THE REFINANCING of GPA, the debt-laden aircraft leasing group, will not be completed until mid-October at the earliest.

An agreement was expected to have been reached last month, but has been delayed by the complexity of the arrangements. These include the restructuring of GPA's dollars 5.5bn debt mountain, and a deal with GE Capital, the giant US leasing group, that could lead to a takeover.

The refinancing is set to become one of the most expensive restructurings in history. Although GPA has denied reports that bankers' and advisers' fees could reach dollars 300m, a senior corporate financier said that such a figure would not surprise him, given the size of the debts and the number of parties involved around the world.

Documents will be sent to shareholders and creditors in mid-September in preparation for an extraordinary meeting in mid-October.

The company announced yesterday that 48 jobs were being trimmed from the 233-employee payroll. These would be mostly middle and junior managers and secretarial staff. In 1991, GPA's employee costs for 220 staff were Ir pounds 35.3m.

There has also been speculation about the future of GPA's executive directors.

Sources in Dublin said that the role of the founder-chairman, Tony Ryan, would be reduced to a largely honorary one, although he might retain some executive responsibilities.

Maurice Foley, deputy chairman, has already indicated that he will retire at the end of the year.

GPA's offices in Dublin and New York are to close, leaving the group to be run entirely from its Shannon base in the west of Ireland.

Its new role will be managing the combined GPA and GE Capital fleet of about 1,000 aircraft. The most important decisions are expected to be made at GE's headquarters in Connecticut, however.