Toilet maker owner escapes debtor crunch

Michael Bow
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TOILET bowl maker Armitage Shanks’ corporate owner was yesterday forced to shore up its balance sheet by liquidating a key part of its business ahead of a looming debt deadline.

Ideal Standard, the Belgian parent company of the iconic 196-year-old UK toilet maker, said it had agreed to sell a 40 per cent stake in its Middle East and Africa business for $72m.

The sale has been driven by a crunch €16.2m (£13.7m) interest payments to bondholders due on 1 November, which the company was struggling to pay, first reported by wire service Debtwire.

Ideal, which is owned by private equity group Bain Capital, had only €16.1m in cash on its balance sheet and had exhausted other credit facilities ­– leading to speculation it would be forced to restructure its debt. Yesterday’s last gasp sale frees up cash for the firm to pay its obligations.