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Johnston Press announces £360 million refinancing

Ashley Highfield

Ashley Highfield

Regional newspaper publisher Johnston Press has announced details of plans for a £360 million refinancing of the company.

The owner of titles including the Banbury Guardian and Daventry Express will issue about £220 million in bonds and raise £137.7 million through a share issue.

The group will also raise about £2.3 million through a share placing and enter into a new £25 million revolving credit facility.

Chief executive Ashley Highfield said: “Johnston Press has already achieved much in turning around our business performance, with 2013 marking a return to underlying operating profit growth for the first time in seven years.

“The refinancing of the business is another milestone for the company and I am delighted to be announcing this capital refinancing plan.”

In addition, Johnston Press has launched a regional advertising partnership with satellite broadcaster Sky.

It said customers using its print and digital platforms for advertising will now be able to use Sky’s AdSmart product, which lets businesses target their TV advertising at specific local markets.

Mr Highfield said: “Johnston Press has been focused on its vision to become a truly multimedia business over the last two years.

“This agreement with Sky is testament to the platform we have put in place.

“That Sky has further demonstrated its conviction in our strategy by investing in our business is particularly encouraging.”

Andrew Griffith, Sky’s managing director, commercial businesses, said: “Sky AdSmart local helps level the playing field for local businesses.

“They can now compete effectively with national brands, using the unique brand-building power of TV.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Johnston Press with its considerable experience of working alongside local communities and its market-leading role in building successful local digital media platforms.”

 

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