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Johnston Press to renegotiate £300m debt


Johnston Press will start renegotiating the terms of its £300m debt pile with lenders in the New Year to push back the September 2015 repayment date, the company has said.

The publisher, which owns newspapers including the Yorkshire Post and Scotsman, is optimistic that it can slash the debt, and is particularly keen on reducing the interest rate from around 14 per cent to at least 9 per cent. It will be advised in the talks by Rothschild.

Ashley Highfield, chief executive, said: “I am pleased with the ongoing support shown by our lender group in providing a clear path for the continued pursuit of our operational strategy.”

The company took a £195m writedown on the value of its struggling regional titles in the summer.

Johnston has cut its debts by 5 per cent, but with continued losses – including a £249m half-year loss in the six months to June – the firm is banking on digital growth to revive its fortunes.