Yell secures lender support

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The Independent Online

Yell, the directories business, has secured the agreement of enough bondholders to push ahead with refinancing its mountain of debts.

The group was relieved to announce that creditors holding more than 95 per cent of its loans had accepted the proposals after it had missed four self-imposed deadlines. It is understood that the threshold would have been met on Friday, but one creditor dragged its feet. The group had threatened to go to court with a scheme of arrangement if it had not secured enough support.

Yell's loan facilities expire in 2011 and 2012. The refinancing deal called on the bondholders to extend the loans to 2014 in return for increasing the rate of interest.

As part of the agreement, Yell now plans to launch a £500m capital raising, and is set to approach major shareholders over the move "as soon as practicable". It also intends to raise £300m, either through a further share sale or a high yield bond.

John David, the chief financial officer of Yell, said: "We have over 1,000 lenders' commitments, and collecting their acceptances has been a huge logistical exercise."

He continued: "We are naturally very grateful to all our lenders for what is virtually unanimous support, and look forward to announcing details of the planned equity raise in the near future."

The Yellow Pages publisher has been in talks with lenders since the end of June in a bid to cut its £3.8bn debts. It has suffered in a market where ad revenues have fallen and there is a shift to online publishing.

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