Wednesday 17 January 2018

INM confident of reaching deal with banks

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

INDEPENDENT News & Media (INM) said it is confident of reaching a deal with its banks to refinance and restructure its loans.

In a notice to the stock exchange, the company confirmed it is in "constructive discussions" with lenders but added that the terms of any new deal are not yet finalised.

INM is the owner of the Irish Independent newspaper as well as 'The Herald', 'The Sunday Independent' and a host of leading regional publications.

Yesterday's statement followed media speculation that agreement had been reached with banks.

Discussions

The company said the discussions with banks and the planned sale of its South African unit are being done to reduce debt while at the same time balancing the interests of all stakeholders, including lenders, employees and shareholders.

There is a need for "consensus in the context of implementation," the publisher said.

The news was welcomed by NCBStockbrokers. It "seems that some form of debt restructuring will take place and it is mainly a question of time. In particular, we expect that a disposal of the South African business will need to be finalised before any debt restructuring deal is done", the broker said.

In February, INM announced the successful sale of its South African newspaper business to a local consortium for €170m.

The unit will be sold to Sekunjalo Independent Media Consortium, which is controlled by South African businessman and philanthropist Iqbal Surve. That deal is expected to close later this year.

The disposal is part of a wider reorganisation of INM, which has interests in radio stations, magazines, newspapers, online media and outdoor advertising companies around the world, in addition to its Irish newspaper group.

Irish Independent

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