Guardian Digital Seeks Court Order to Extend Airwave Buyout Debt
A London judge may order Guardian Digital Communications Ltd.’s lenders as soon as today to vote to extend 1.73 billion pounds ($2.89 billion) of loans used to buy the U.K.’s emergency services communications network.
The owner of Airwave Solutions Ltd. wants to push back loans due on April 22 by as much as five years using a “scheme of arrangement” process, according to a company filing presented in a London court yesterday. A deal, requiring backing from 75 percent of creditors, must be reached before a March 31 deadline to file its annual financial statements, it said.
“If the scheme is not implemented, then it is likely that formal insolvency proceedings will be commenced,” the company said in the filing. The plan “is the only realistic way to address the imminent maturity of the sums due,” the filing said.
Guardian Digital, owned by a fund controlled by Macquarie Group Ltd. (MQG), needs to refinance at the same time as the British government is seeking to replace the network when contracts expire starting in 2016. The country’s police, fire and ambulance services want a cheaper, more advanced system than the service operated by Slough, England-based Airwave.
The company has a 1.48 billion-pound term loan A and 250 million-pound term loan B, according to the filing. It also has a 50 million-pound revolving credit facility, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Guardian Digital also owed 260 million pounds at the end of last year because of interest-rate swaps linked to the loans, it said in the filing. Liabilities associated with the contracts, which it will terminate as part of the extension plan, rank at the same level as the rest of the group’s debt, it said.