Publisher of Spain’s El Pais Prisa Seeks Second Debt Restructuring in Year
Lenders to Prisa, as the Madrid-based company is known, are willing to collaborate with the company, Chief Executive Officer Juan Luis Cebrian said in an interview.
“We’re in full conversations with banks for the restructuring of the company’s debt and we see no problems amid all the problems the sector and banks have,” Cebrian said on the sidelines of a breakfast meeting hosted by the Nueva Economia Forum at the Ritz Hotel in Madrid. “Banks are very collaborative and the whole of the company’s policy is oriented toward its deleveraging as urgent as possible without destroying its consolidation perimeter.”
The shares dropped as much as 6.4 percent before trading at 82.5 euro cents as of 5 p.m. in Madrid today, valuing the company at 911 million euros.
The publisher of El Pais newspaper got a debt extension until May 2013 and looser borrowing conditions, it said in a November 2010 filing to regulators. Prisa said in June it may sell non-strategic assets valued at more than 500 million euros. The company may also issue other non-banking debt instruments for as much as 500 million euros, depending on market conditions in order to lengthen loan maturities.
“Nobody, neither the company nor banks, believe they can pay the 3.2 billion euros in debt maturing in May 2013,” Tiago Veiga Anjos, an analyst at Banco BPI SA in Porto, Portugal, said by telephone. “It’s not difficult, it’s impossible. Banks may be willing to lose some money so that Prisa could restructure its debt, but they may ask the company to cut its debt further.”
The company expects to cut its debt to 2 1/2 to three times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization in two or two and a half years, Cebrian said.
“Recurrent Ebitda has deteriorated because of the economic situation,” he said. “If the economy growth improves and advertising increases the speed of the reduction of the ratio will change.”