Pearl nearing bond deal

PHOENIX Group, the fund manager and insurer formerly known as Pearl, said yesterday it had moved closer to a deal with bondholders who have been holding out against the company’s efforts to negotiate a cut in its debt.

Phoenix is seeking the approval of its banks and of the Financial Services Authority for a fresh proposal, under which the face value of a £500m bond it issued would be reduced by 15 per cent – lower than the 25 per cent originally envisaged.

Phoenix, founded by Pizza Express entrepreneur Hugh Osmond, said the new proposal was drawn up in “substantive and positive” discussions with a group of investors holding about two thirds of the bonds.

The proposal would also need to win a majority vote of all bondholders before gaining final approval.