Belfast Telegraph

€40m share placement seals Independent News and Media debt plan

by tom molloy

Independent News and Media has said it will raise €40m (£34m) by selling new shares before Christmas to new and existing investors. The share placing is the last piece in a complex jigsaw puzzle that slashes the publisher's debt to around €118m (£99m).

Two of the publisher's biggest shareholders have already given a commitment to buy shares, INM said. Telecoms billionaire Denis O'Brien will maintain his stake at 29.9pc when the placement ends while financier Dermot Desmond said he expects to increase his stake to 15pc from 6.4pc.

"The proposed capital raise, intended to raise €40m net of expenses, represents the final stage of the restructuring," the company said.

The share placement is the last step in chief executive Vincent Crowley's ambitious plan to restructure INM's balance sheet. It follows deals with the publisher's main lenders to write down debt, a reduction in future pension payments to employees and cost cutting measures. Lenders will own around 11pc of the company following the deal while a staff pension scheme will own a further 5pc.

The share placement, which is a combination of firm placement and open offer, must still be approved by shareholders at a specially convened shareholder meeting.

INM owns this newspaper and a host of titles in the Republic of Ireland including the Irish Independent.

Belfast Telegraph