Further job cuts are pending at Independent News & Media, with the group set to continue to reduce costs in the wake of it successfully completing its financial restructuring programme.
INM’s shareholders met in Dublin yesterday to approve the group’s plans to raise €43m from a complex share placement round; the last aspect of a multi-layered restructuring which will lower the group’s debt from €440m to €118m.
Asked, after the meeting, about prospects of a slimming down of the group, INM’s chief executive, Vincent Crowley said cost control was always being looked at and operational costs would be lowered further. He declined to give a target figure for cost savings, apart from saying the sum would be “reasonably substantial”, but admitted further jobs would be shed.
Regarding the capital raise — which will formally happen tomorrow — Mr Crowley said he was not surprised at the high level of approval (all resolutions were unanimously passed), saying it was “a sensible thing to approve” and would help make INM’s debt levels sustainable.
He added that the participation of key shareholders — Dermot Desmond’s INM stake, via his IIU investment vehicle, post share offer, will increase from around 6.4% to 15% — was key in attracting new investment.
The €43m capital raise is resulting in the placement of new ordinary shares to new and existing shareholders and a separate new offer to existing stakeholders. INM is issuing just over 614m new shares at 7c each.
As of the close of the open offer last Friday, INM had received valid acceptances for 158.3m ordinary shares, representing around 86.3% of the open offer shares. The remaining 25.1m, or so, shares — 13.7% of the new shares to be issued — have been allocated to investors with whom they have been conditionally placed.
On completion of the raise, INM will have a total of just over 1.23bn ordinary shares in issue. The group’s financial restructuring drive has already seen it agree terms with its lenders over a write-down of a proportion of debt; restructure its pension deficit and sell its South African print assets.
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