Strategies

Lecta restructures its debt in record times

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The process started by Lecta with the hiring of the investment banks Evercore and Rothschild & Co. to look for alternatives to relaunch its business activity has positively ended with the exit of its main shareholder CVC Capital Partners, which reached an agreement with bondholders for the restructuring of its debt. In particular, there has been a successful capitalization of two thirds of the debt (€ 400 millions, for a total of € 600 millions) in the form of bonds, so that bondholders become the new owners of Lecta. The company has thus succeeded to reduce its debt to € 200 millions with 2025 as a deadline. Debt owners will receive new shares in exchange for a new issue of bonds between € 80 and € 100 millions in value, which will not be considered as a measure for the consolidation of the company. The agreement foresees an infusion of cash and the commitment to launch a new strategic plan, which implies the transformation of the business activity into special segments providing for better margins. The new owners include Apollo, Chaney, Tikehau, Credit Suisse Asset Management and the same CVC. In this process, Lecta was supported by Evercore and Rothschild & Co.

The CVC fund, which joined Lecta in 1999, has tried, over the years, to sell the company on several occasions and even failed in its attempt to have the company listed in the stock exchange about two years ago. The company, which is based in Luxembourg, has seven plants in Spain, France (with Condat, 450 thousand tons production) and Italy (with Cartiere del Garda, 350 thousand tons production). The Spanish plants are based in Leitza (Navarra), Motril (Granada), Almazán (Soria), Sant Joan Les Font (Girona) and Zaragoza. At the end of last June, the company employed 3,170 people, more than half of which working in Torraspapel.

In 2018, its turnover was 1.9% higher than the one registered in 2017, although its Ebitda has gone down by 4% to € 116 millions. In the first semester of the ongoing year, it registered sales worth of € 681 millions (-23%) and losses worth of € 12.63 millions, with an Ebitda of € 54 millions (-18%). in the same period, the coated paper division registered a reduction of about 10%. One of Lecta’s objectives has always been the reduction of the importance of this business in favour to other product ranges that have more added value. Last April, therefore, one of the production lines of its French subsidiary Condat in Lardin-Saint-Lazare was discontinued and the group has recently announced the launch of a restructuring process of this installation, to turn the line into another line devoted to the production of adhesive paper for labels. Similarly, last year it did investments worth over € 44 millions in its Spanish plants, mainly in the mills based in Almazán (Soria) and Leitza (Navarra).