Monday 24 July 2017

INM in 'constructive talks' with its banks

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

INDEPENDENT News & Media (INM) chairman Leslie Buckley last night said the company is currently in "constructive and ongoing discussions" with its banks and is committed to securing a "consensual solution" on this basis.

Mr Buckley was responding to a newspaper report suggesting there may be political opposition to any restructuring of the company's debts.

In an article which appeared under the headline 'Unease in Government over INM debt-relief moves', the 'Irish Times' quoted "government sources" as being "apprehensive" about the potential restructuring.

However, in a statement, Mr Buckley said the article was "sorely lacking in context".

"INM is an operationally strong and well-managed company yet its survival is threatened by a legacy of excessive borrowings and poor decisions . . . all of which pre-date the current board," he said.

"In my view, if debt sustainability is a valid objective for the State, for households and for bailed-out banks, it is also a legitimate aspiration for a corporate entity that employs over 1,100 staff on this island.

"On the assumption that a financial institution would only provide debt relief to enhance the recovery prospects of outstanding loans, it follows that any decisions in this regard would be based on pragmatic and operational grounds as to do otherwise would be inimical to the commercial interests of lenders," he added.

Mr Buckley said that were burden sharing to occur, "on this basis, and in circumstances where equity holders have already incurred losses exceeding 90pc, that is a matter for negotiation between INM and its banks".

Irish Independent

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