Stemcor Said to Hire Restructuring Chief Ahead of Lender Talks

Stemcor Holdings Ltd., a London-based steel trader renegotiating more than $1 billion of debt, hired Simon Freakley as chief restructuring officer, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

Stemcor is due to meet with banks at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s London offices on Thursday to outline proposals to repay the debt, the people said. London-based Stemcor obtained a 30-day standstill agreement effective from the loan’s May 7 maturity, said the people.

Stemcor hired Goldman Sachs to advise on a refinancing and potential asset sales as the company seeks to repay a $850 million loan that matured earlier this month, people familiar with the matter said May 10. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Allen & Overy LLP are advising the banks, the people said today.

Freakley is a business recovery specialist employed by Zolfo Cooper LLP, a restructuring advisory firm, and the former head of Kroll Inc., according to Zolfo Cooper’s website. Companies involved in debt restructuring processes often hire people from accountancy firms or advisory businesses to lead negotiations and help manage organizational changes.

Charles Armitstead, a London-based Stemcor spokesman who works for Pendomer Communications LLP, declined to comment on the situation. Spokesmen for PwC and Zolfo Cooper, who both asked not to be named citing company policy, declined to comment.

Asia Loan

Stemcor’s standstill, under which banks agree not to demand repayment of the loan for a specified period of time, also applies to a one-year $225 million loan raised by Stemcor’s Asian unit Stemcor SEA Pte Ltd., people said earlier this month.

Stemcor reported a loss last year as sales fell to about 5 billion pounds from about 6 billion pounds a year earlier, according to a statement on its website. Reduced demand for steel in recession-hit Europe drove down the prices of hot-rolled coil, a benchmark steel product.

Freakley was hired as CRO of Hibu Plc, the U.K. yellow pages publisher involved in a 2.1 billion-pound ($3.4 billion) debt restructuring, in December.

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