Seen & Heard
IN&M planning debt write-offIndebted publisher Independent News & Media plans to ask its lenders to write off up to €100 million of debt as part of a wider overhaul, Britain’s Sunday Times reported yesterday.
The company on Friday said it would need urgent and substantial restructuring in response to high levels of debt and tough trading.
A spokesman yesterday declined to comment on the report that the company was seeking to write off debt.
The publisher hopes to secure agreement on the debt write-off with a consortium of eight banks by early next year, the newspaper reported without citing sources.
The restructuring will also include a rights issue, a radical costcutting programme and the sale of the company’s South African unit, the report said.
Noonan’s SME measure
Minister for Finance Michael Noonan told the Sunday Business Post he was “looking closely” at a budget measure that could reduce the debt burden on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and promote growth.
The newspaper said that “a key tenet of the SME plan is a new scheme aimed at alleviating the historic[al] property debts that are affecting small firms”.
The scheme is designed to help separate the trading business of SMEs from their property debt. Noonan said he was “very conscious that exports alone cannot deliver the type of recovery required to lift the domestic economy and create jobs across the country”.
He added that “a significant improvement in growth in the domestic economy is essential” and that “SMEs are the driver of that”.
McKillen to seek to raise £50m
Belfast developer Paddy McKillen faces having to raise more than £50 million (€62 million) in a month to avoid being squeezed out of the company that owns the Claridge’s, Berkeley and Connaught hotels in London.
The Sunday Times said that US private equity business Blackstone had agreed a £536 million refinancing of Coroin, the company that owns the hotels. As part of the refinancing, the owners of the hotel will have to inject £145 million into the company.
McKillen’s share of this is £52.5 million and if he cannot come up with the money he risks being diluted out of the business by the Barclay brothers, who own 28.5 per cent and control another 35.4 per cent.
Cerberus on top for Greenstar
Cerberus Capital Management is favourite to buy Irish waste company Greenstar, the Sunday Business Post said, without citing anyone.
Greenstar, which was owned by NTR, went into receivership with debts of €83 million last August.