Monday 22 January 2018

Golden Pages owner facing bank takeover

Donal O'Donovan

A BANKRUPTCY court in the US has asked creditors of Golden Pages owner Truvo to vote on a plan that will hand the business to its banks.

The move comes after Truvo defaulted on the mountain of debt raised to buy the company back in 2007.

It has debts of €1.8bn. The plan presented to creditors will see banks take control and debt written down to €550m.

Truvo is based in Belgium but ended up filing for bankruptcy protection in the US last July thanks to a complex capital structure featuring a US holding company.

It owns directories publishing business in Belgium, Portugal, Romania and South Africa as well as in Ireland.

Private equity owners Apax and Cinven paid €2bn for Truvo in 2007 in a leveraged buyout funded with a mix of senior bank debt and high yield bonds.

But since 2007 the displacement of traditional directories by online search engines has been rapid. Apax and Cinven effectively gave up on Truvo last summer, making no efforts to hold on to the business when lenders threatened to seize it.

Now senior lenders owed around €700m, including Irish fund managers Avoca and Harbourmaster, are set to take the vast majority of equity in Truvo through a debt-for-equity swap.

Irish Independent

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