INM confirms talks with bankers

Media group is "confident" that an agreement on restructuring of its debt can be reached

Media group INM is looking to restructure debts of some ¤400 million

Media group INM is looking to restructure debts of some ¤400 million


Media group Independent News & Media (INM) confirmed this morning that it is in "constructive discussions" with its syndicate of banks in relation to the "refinancing and restructuring" of its facilities.

While it asserted that it is "confident" that an agreed position will be reached, terms of the deal have not yet been finalised.

The publisher of the Irish Independent and the Evening Herald owes more than € 400 million to a consortium of eight lenders that includes the State-owned Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland. The other lenders are Ulster Bank, KBC, ANZ, Barclays, Lloyds and BNP Paribas, with each believed to have a roughly equal exposure to INM.

The media group noted that key to these discussions with the banks, and to its proposed disposal of its South African operations, is the "deleveraging of the INM Group while balancing the respective interests of all stakeholders (lenders, employees and shareholders) and the need for consensus in the context of implementation".

It has been suggested that a debt-equity swap, a rights issue and a loan from a major shareholder may all form part of the restructuring.

Last month INM disclosed that it is to sell its South African based business for close to € 170 million to a local consortium, short of the € 250 million that it hoped it would achieve.