Yell saves £3m with payment

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group Yell yesterday made a £150m early repayment of its senior bank debt.

The repayment saves the firm around £3m of interest and leaves it with £66m to repay by May under a debt restructuring agreement made last year.

Shares in the company closed 1.7 per cent higher at 14.75p as it looked likely to meet its May deadline.

Half-year results indicated strong cash flow revealing the business held £261m in cash reserves with a total net debt of £2.9bn.

Yell has managed to reduce its debt mountain gradually, including securing a strong refinancing agreement two years ago to alleviate pressure.

However analysts still view the business with caution, pointing to reluctance amongst small businesses to advertise during the downturn and growing competition online.

Alex DeGroote analyst at Panmure Gordon said: “The quantum of debt is so large that it really obscures equity.

“Its online business isn’t totally out of the game but if you’ve got 85 per cent of business in print declining you need to have high growth in other areas to compensate for that.

“It has got appeal if there’s a turnaround in the advertising climate for smaller businesses.”