TROUBLED newspaper publisher Independent News & Media (INM) said yesterday it had agreed a grace period from lenders to renegotiate a €200m (£177m) bond.
The owner of the Independent and Independent on Sunday said it now has until 26 June to hammer out a repayment deal on its senior debt, which was due for payment yesterday.
The group has also secured an additional €15m of working capital to see it through the period. The cash will be repaid from asset disposals.
“The standstill is necessary to facilitate ongoing negotiations between key stakeholders in relation to the group’s financial restructuring,” the company said in a statement.
The deal means that INM’s lenders cannot take action to enforce any payment claim against the group during the “standstill period”.
Dublin-based INM – which owns newspapers, radio stations and advertising groups in Britain, Ireland, South Africa, Asia, Australia – unveiled a €159.4m loss last month as it has been hit hard by a collapse in advertising as a result of the global recession.
The group, which has built up a debt pile of €1.4bn, expects to raise €100-150m from the sale of its price comparison website Verivox, gaming software firm Cashcade and its South African outdoor advertising business by the end of the third quarter.