Three significant bids for INM's S African arm
Independent News Media is believed to have received three significant bids for its South African subsidiary and has asked for second-round offers to be lodged next month.
The bids are thought to include an offer from an investment consortium called Sekunjalo Holdings, headed by its executive chairman Iqbal Survé.
Sekunjalo is reported to have bid €240 million for INM’s South African assets.
In an interim management statement published yesterday INM said it was “encouraged” by the interest shown in the business as it decides whether a disposal is deliverable on “acceptable terms”.
Earlier this year INM appointed Investec and Hawkpoint to advise it on its options in South Africa.
The trading statement highlighted the continuing difficult trading conditions INM is experiencing. In the 45 weeks to November 9th, total group revenue declined by 4.1 per cent in euro.
Its advertising revenue fell by 7.2 per cent in euro, while circulation revenue declined by 3.9 per cent in euro.
The company said trading “remained challenging” and “visibility is poor” given the difficult economic backdrop on the island of Ireland and in South Africa.
“Against this continued backdrop, and the group’s significant level of debt, the need for substantial and urgent restructuring is evident,” it added.
To help mitigate the continued difficult trading, INM said group costs declined by 0.7 per cent on the same period last year, despite significant inflationary pressures in South Africa of more than 7 per cent.
The group’s Republic of Ireland defined-benefit pension schemes had a deficit at June 30th of €156.5 million.