INM strikes restructuring deal with bondholders

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The Independent Online

Independent News & Media, the publisher of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, last night struck a deal with bondholders that will see creditors swap €123m (£110m) worth of debt for a 46 per cent equity stake in the company.

The deal, which is part of a two-stage financial restructuring plan that also includes a €92.2m rights issue, comes after months of negotiations and several so-called standstill agreements, which deferred debt repayments.

The final stage of the restructuring plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The company won the approval of 99.72 per cent of bondholders present at the meeting held in London. The resolution allows INM to proceed with its restructuring proposal, which includes the issuance of 723.2 million shares in satisfaction of €123m of the bonds' claim on the company.

In a statement released last night the group said: "INM welcomes this essential endorsement of the restructuring and anticipates that the restructuring will now be completed on schedule and prior to the year end, thereby affording the company a secure and stable foundation, with a significantly reduced debt profile, from which to leverage the INM Group's businesses and key strengths across its global portfolio of leading media assets."

The deal with creditors removes concerns over the €200m bond that had been due to be repaid in May.

As part of the restructuring strategy, INM has also agreed the sale of INM Outdoor, its South African advertising business, in a deal that will raise €98m. Along with other disposals, the group is on target to raise funds of around €150m this year.

INM will hold an extraordinary meeting on 26 November when shareholders will vote on yesterday's agreement.