Tensator in talks with lender as £26m debt pile hangs overhead

TENSATOR, the private equity-backed technology company, has delayed a covenant test until the end of the week as it grapples with £26m debt.

The maker of queuing equipment for airports and museums blamed turbulent conditions for breaching covenants in June and September last year. It has pushed back December’s assessment until 31 January.

Tensator has secured loans worth £23m and mezzanine debt of £2.5m with Lloyds Group, mostly as a result of its takeover by US buyout player Riverside Group in August 2008. Last night, a spokesperson insisted the firm was on track to repay the debt and would be able to revert to quarterly covenant tests after this month.

She added: “January is shaping up to be a good month... and our customer order book is exceptionally strong at the moment.”

The company raised turnover from £457,000 to £565,000 last year. Pre-tax profits hit £1.8m.

Tensator supplies crowd barriers and screens to customers such as Heathrow Airport, American chain Macy’s and the Empire State Building. Its sale two years ago netted boss Jeremy Williman a windfall as he had led the company for six years following a management buyout.