Hibu set to post results and debt rescue scheme

Marion Dakers

HIBU, the owner of Yellow Pages, is this week set to reveal its long-awaited full year results, which are likely to include details of a debt-for-equity swap with its creditors.

The company has spent months in talks to cut its £2.3bn debt pile and hopes to finalise a deal to hand control to its creditors at the same time as its results, which were due in May.

The group, which is in default under the terms of its 2009 debt facility, counts Soros Fund Management, Blackstone’s GSO Capital, RBS and Deutsche Bank among its 300 creditors. A deal is yet to be signed, and an announcement on the swap could slip into next week.

Hibu has repeatedly warned its equity investors that the stock is likely to end up worthless under its recapitalisation.

Its shares have tumbled from a peak of 584p in October 2006 to just 28p on Friday.

Hibu, known as Yell Group until last year and a former FTSE 100 component, posted revenues of £1.6bn in the year to March 2012. Just over £1bn of this was generated from printed editions of the Yellow Pages in the UK, US Spain and Latin America –  but this revenue stream was almost a fifth smaller than it was in 2011.

The company got a boost in February when the Competition Commission lifted restrictions on the fees it can charge for adverts in its print directories, as it was deemed to no longer have market power.

Around 1.2m small businesses now use its websites to advertise.

Mike Pocock became chief executive in 2011, and was tasked with turning around the company within four years. Meanwhile chairman Bob Wigley has been grappling with Hibu’s debt, paring down its liabilities from £4bn.