Johnston Press is in talks over debt mountain

Oliver Smith
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STRUGGLING publisher Johnston Press has entered negotiations with its lenders over its £306.4m debt.

Johnston Press has reportedly hired Rothschild, the investment bank, to coordinate discussions with creditors including Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland.

The conversations with lenders could include a refinancing package would see the banks taking warrants in the company, giving them the right to buy shares in Johnston at reduced prices, according to the Sunday Times.

In the six months to 29 June, Johnston reported losses of £248.7m on revenues that fell to £159.9m from £206.1m in 2012.

Much of the loss was attributed to a £194.5m non-cash impairment charge on the value of its newspapers and a £57.9m write-down on the value of its press.

Johnston – which publishes The Scotsman and Yorkshire Post newspapers – relaunched some of its titles and increased its digital operations in April, which resulted in an increase in digital revenues up 13 per cent to £11.6m as of August.

The publisher has reduced its debt from its high of £361.7m in June 2012.