The global directory publisher Yell Group has succeeded in its effort to convince lenders to go along with a plan to raise 500 million pounds through a rights issue and restructure its 3.8 billion pound debt load. Debt restructuring has become an increasingly urgent concern for Yell as the year has progressed and results in many of its key properties sagged under the weight of a global economic slowdown. Easing the debt burden has been a particular focus of company Chairman Bob Wigley, a former Merrill Lynch banker who assumed the post in June.
According to Bloomberg, the deal with creditors calls for extending maturity of its loans to 2014 and reducing borrowing by 300 million pounds.
Yell Group is the leading directory publisher in the U.K. and also owns Yellowbook, the leading U.S. independent publisher. Yell also operates Yell Publicidad, with market leadership positions in Spain and in the South American markets of Argentina, Chile and Peru.
Many global directory publishers have made deleveraging a priority this year, as investors and lenders grow increasingly skittish over high debt-EBITDA ratios on businesses with declining core revenues. The Swedish publisher Eniro, for example, conducted a rights issue earlier this year that raised 2.4 billion Swedish krona to reduce that company’s debt. At the end of Q3, Eniro’s leverage ratio was reduced from 4.8X at the start of the year to 3.6X, with a total indebtedness of 7.1 billion krona.