Belfast Telegraph

Meditor scores win as shareholder backs its bid for Carpetright

Investec Asset Management has thrown its 3.7% of shares behind Meditor’s potential takeover.

Carpetright thinks its net debt might nearly double by the end of the year (Jason Alden/Carpetright/PA)
Carpetright thinks its net debt might nearly double by the end of the year (Jason Alden/Carpetright/PA)

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

Carpetright’s biggest shareholder notched up another win on Wednesday as another major investor got behind its tentative £15.2 million plan to lift the company from under a mountain of debt.

Investec Asset Management said it planned to throw its more than 11.3 million shares behind a bid by Meditor to take control of Carpetright.

It is a boost for the deal, which has garnered support from shareholders with 27.7% of the total, or 84.3 million shares.

Meditor, run by former poker player and fund manager Talal Shakerchi, indicated last month that it would be willing to buy Carpetright for 5p per share. It is a big discount to the 9.12p trading price the day before the announcement.

However, the company thinks it will need around £80 million to get out of its debt problems.

At the time the potential offer was announced, Carpetright said it had won tentative or solid approval for the offer from Aberforth Partners, which owns 12.6% of its shares, Majedie Asset Management, which holds 6.6%, Countywide Developments, with 2.2%, and Soros Fund Management, which owns 2.6%.

Investec’s support adds another 3.7% to the tally.

Carpetright’s gross debt is £56 million. Its net debt, currently £27 million, is expected to reach as much as £50 million in December.

The potential deal would allow banks that have lent to Carpetright to turn that debt into a stake in the business.

Meditor became one of the lenders in September when it took over a pile of current and potential loans from NatWest and AIB.

Meditor now has until November 28 to make a full offer for the business, or decide to abandon its plans.

Carpetrightgg has been desperate to find new loans before its current ones mature and need to be repaid.

In October, chairman Bob Ivell said: “Shareholders will be aware that we have been engaged in comprehensive refinancing discussions to replace existing facilities which expire at the end of this calendar year.

“The possible offer being announced today would put in place a new financing structure for Carpetright, which would enable us to continue our recovery and make necessary investments in improving our business.”