TV3 owner Doughty Hanson buys back its corporate debts
Broadcaster says deal ends “difficult” and “uncertain” time following IBRC liquidation
“The sale of TV3’s debt to Doughty Hanson ends an uncertain period for the company,” said David McRedmond, TV3 chief executive. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
TV3 can look forward to “a successful future” following the sale of its corporate debt to its owner, private equity firm Doughty Hanson, the broadcaster’s chief executive David McRedmond said last night.
The debt of TV3’s parent, Tullamore Beta, has been acquired by Doughty Hanson, following the State’s liquidation of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC) and the auction of its assets by the liquidator, KPMG. The deal marks an end to a “difficult period” for the group, Mr McRedmond said.
In a statement, TV3 said the successful bid to buy back the loans was majority financed by investment managers BlueBay, which is a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada, with bridging finance from Doughty Hanson. The new lending facilities are long term and at commercial rates, it said.
The particular BlueBay investment vehicle used, called BlueBay Ireland Corporate Credit I Ltd, is the largest of three long-term funds to which the National Pensions Reserve Fund made investments earlier this year. The NPRF committed €200 million to the €450 million fund, which is designed to provide loans to larger SMEs and mid-sized businesses that can support economic activity and employment in Ireland.
TV3’s debt was auctioned as part of “Project Evergreen”, the name given to the process of selling off the Evergreen portfolio of IBRC corporate loans.
Separately, the group has also entered into new day-to-day banking arrangements with Ulster Bank, which will provide A full range of working capital and banking facilities.
“The sale of TV3’s debt to Doughty Hanson ends an uncertain period for the company,” Mr McRedmond said. “Doughty Hanson’s continuing support and financing of TV3 has been vital to our survival through the recession and is a great vote of confidence in the company.”
Mr McRedmond also acknowledged the contribution of TV3’s 260 employees “through this difficult period”.
Doughty Hanson partner Christopher Fielding said the refinancing demonstrated the investor’s “ongoing commitment” to TV3, which it bought in 2006.
The most recent accounts for Tullamore Beta show the company closed 2012 with net debts of €105 million, split almost equally between loans it owed to IBRC and loans it owed to Doughty Hanson. Hefty interest charges on its debt pushed the company into the red, despite an increase in its operating profit.