Interserve looks at rival plan B as crunch meeting looms

Aaron Morby 3 weeks ago
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Rebel investors in Interserve have tabled alternative survival proposals demanding that they are considered if Interserve’s present plan fails to win shareholder backing at a crunch general meeting.

Interserve chief Debbie White will announce date for crunch shareholder meeting

This week Interserve will publish full details of its favoured survival plan agreed with its lenders, bonding providers and Pension Trustee, and first outlined earlier this month.

With the details, Interserve will also set the date for the critical general meeting that will decide its fate.

On Friday, Interserve revealed that alternative outline proposals had been received from US hedge fund and major shareholder, Coltrane Asset Management, which it said it would now consider.

In the event of failure to pass either plan lenders are reported by the Guardian to have placed Ernst & Young on alert to step in to manage the business if it was forced into administration.

The latest moves bring to a head the intense stand-off between Interserve’s shareholders and lenders.

Under the board’s favoured plan agreed with its lenders, existing shareholders will be almost wiped out.

Key lenders, including RBS, HSBC and BNP Paribas, have agreed to release £75m to fund working cash and take £480m new equity in the group to halve debt to £275m.

This will leave existing shareholders with just 2.5% of the enlarged shares, although they have option to raise their stakes in a later £480m open offer, likely to be discounted.

Under the counter-proposal tabled by Coltrane, which owns a 27% stake in Interserve, 65% of the firm would be handed to lenders in exchange for £436m of debt. A proposed £75m rights issue would take up 25% of the equity, leaving existing shareholders owning 10%.

In a statement, Interserve said: “The board confirms that it remains committed to achieving a consensual deleveraging plan.”

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