Double deal is a boost for INM as shares rise by 15%

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The Independent Online

Independent News & Media (INM) shares jumped 15 per cent yesterday as the publisher said bondholders had accepted a deal that gave the company a "significantly reduced debt profile" while banks have extended the time to repay a separate loan by more than four years.

Shares in Independent News & Media closed up 15 per cent in Dublin, the biggest one-day rise in six weeks, as investors digested the news issued late on Tuesday that the group's bond- holders, who were owed €200m, have agreed to accept 723 million shares in return for €123m in cash. Those shares begin trading today.

A rights issue will be discussed at a special shareholder meeting at the end of the month, along with the disposal of the company's South African outdoor advertising unit.

If approved, the €92.2m rights issue would allow bondholders to recoup the rest of their investment.

There was further good news for shareholders after Independent News & Media, the publisher of this newspaper, said it had agreed a new €745m loan facility with eight banks for debt that was due to be repaid next year.

The new loans would mature in May 2014 and "provide headroom for additional working capital requirements", the company said in a statement after the market closed yesterday.

The loans would shrink to around €634m by the time they were due to be repaid, the company added.

"We view shares in INM as a speculative buy; however, investors will have to follow their money through a rights issue at a price of 5c a share," Dolmen Stockbrokers analyst Stephen Taylor wrote in a note to investors yesterday after the deal with bondholders had been announced but before the second deal with the publisher's banks was made public.

The new bank loans replace the group's existing bank facilities, excluding loans to Australia-based APN News & Media, but there are non-recourse to Independent News & Media. Bondholders approved the deal by a majority of 89.85 per cent. The requirement for approval was 75 per cent.

* Source: The Irish Independent

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