Edcon Secured Creditors Rally for Talks With Bain Retailer

Edcon Holdings Pty. secured bondholders are readying for debt talks with the South African fashion retailer.

A group has hired adviser PJT Partners Inc. and law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges to help with negotiations, PJT said in a statement on Thursday. The investors, who hold secured Edcon 2018 notes in euros and dollars with a combined value of about $945 million, are seeking to enlist other bondholders.

Junior Edcon creditors agreed to take losses last year as the company struggled to meet debt commitments due to a weaker rand and slower sales at its chains, including Edgars and Jet. The retailer was loaded with foreign-currency debt through a 2007 acquisition by Bain Capital Partners.

Standard & Poor’s said in a report last month that Edcon’s capital structure was “unsustainable in the long term” due to high debt and interest costs, the concentration of debt maturing in 2017 and 2018, and unhedged exposure to foreign-currency debt.

“We remain focused on optimizing the remaining capital structure to support long-term growth,” a Edcon spokesman said by e-mail. “We are constantly in conversation with our lenders, bondholders and their representatives.”

Edcon in June asked holders of 425 million euros of junior bonds due 2019 to take a loss. Almost all of them accepted an exchange offer, which cut the retailer’s net-cash interest payment obligations by about 1 billion rand ($65 million) a year. In November, it was able to cut its debt by 4.5 billion rand and reduce cash interest payments by another 1 billion rand in a refinancing deal with banks.

“The business can’t maintain the level of debt and still invest,” Chief Executive Officer Bernie Brookes said in November.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE