Independent News & Media cuts debt burden by €148m after sale of South African assets
Media group says sale completes first stage in its financial restructuring
Independent News and Media chief executive Vincent Crowley. The publishing group has outstanding debt of about €430 million but is aiming to reduce this to €118 million. Photograph: Frank Miller
Media group Independent News & Media (INM) has reduced its debt burden by about €148 million following the completion of its sale of its South African assets.
The Sekunjalo Group, a media consortium chaired by Iqbal Survé, has paid about two billion rand (about €170 million) for INM’s South African media house, which publishes the Star and Daily Voice, along with evening, weekend and local newspapers and magazines.
INM said that this completes the first stage in its financial restructuring, first announced in May of this year. The net proceeds of the sale, of about €148 million, have been applied to repay existing senior debt. The publisher has outstanding debt of about €430 million, but is aiming to reduce this to €118 million.
The remaining stages of the restructuring will require a negotiated reduction in the group’s defined benefit pension scheme, followed by a capital raising later in the year.