Solocal Says Holders of 15 Percent of Shares Back RestructuringBy
Shareholders will vote on the plan at a general meeting on October 19, according to a company presentation on Wednesday. The proposal must also be approved by two thirds of creditors in a vote likely to be held before then, the company said. Assuming the deal is agreed by investors and the Court of Nanterre in France, it will be completed by the end of the year, Solocal said.
Solocal, previously called PagesJaunes, is seeking to cut its debt to 400 million euros through a restructuring plan that includes a debt-for-equity swap and a capital injection by existing shareholders. Shareholders must subscribe the capital increase to maintain control of the company or else give control to creditors.
The publisher, which reorganized 1.6 billion euros of borrowings in 2014, has said that it won’t be able to repay debt due in 2018 as online services sales haven’t yet replaced lower revenues from traditional print directories. It’s also struggled to invest in digital products because of its debt pile.
Solocal turned to a so-called mandat ad hoc, which is an option available to solvent French companies that are facing financial difficulties. The court appointed Helene Bourbouloux as adviser to help the company reach a consensual debt-restructuring agreement with creditors.
The company has said its main creditors include Paulson & Co., GSO Capital Partners, Farallon Capital Management, Amber Capital and Boussard & Gavaudan Asset Management.
Funds Edmond de Rothschild Group and DNCA Finance SA are among the largest shareholders, according to company filings in December 2015. Spokeswomen for the funds in London weren’t immediately available to comment on their current holdings.