INM considers asking shareholders for more cash

The publisher of the Independent newspaper is considering tapping investors for cash as a deadline looms for a €200m debt repayment.

Independent News and Media, which owns more than 200 newspaper and magazine titles worldwide, is mulling a “deeply discounted” share placing as one of the proposals put forward amid talks with debtholders.

Shares plunged 19 per cent yesterday following the admission it might need to turn to shareholders for cash.

INM’s €200m (£168.3m) bond matured in mid-May, but the group was granted a standstill to allow refinancing discussions to continue – an agreement that comes to a close on Friday.

The firm is hoping to be able to secure an extension until 24 July and sought to reassure that parties were working towards a “consensual solution”.

The group has been hit hard by the advertising downturn and has already axed 90 jobs at the Independent and Independent on Sunday as part of swingeing cost-cutting plans.

It reported a bottom-line pre-tax loss of €161.4m (£142.7m) in the 12 months to 31 December, a deterioration of 165 per cent on the previous year.

The firm said yesterday that debtholders were being asked to make “material necessary concessions” as part of a “comprehensive refinancing proposal”.

But it added: “While the outcome of these discussions remains uncertain at this time, recent discussions have shown a willingness on the part of the stakeholders to reach a consensual solution.”

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