Monier lenders meet as rival takeover bid lined up

LONDON Wed May 27, 2009 12:32pm EDT

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LONDON May 27 (Reuters) - Lenders to troubled French roofing company Monier Group met on Wednesday as they prepare a bid to wrest the company from its private equity owner, two sources with knowledge of the situation said.

Monier's current owner Paribas Affaires Industrielles (PAI) put forward an improved debt restructuring offer to lenders on Tuesday, the sources said.

PAI is facing a counter-proposal from a group of three distressed debt investors -- Apollo Management [APOLO.UL], TowerBrook Capital and York Capital -- which is expected within seven days, a lender source said.

Lenders are meeting to gather information that will allow them to assess the two anticipated bids for the company, a banking source said.

A successful bid from the distressed group could mark a powershift in the battle between private equity companies and lenders to leveraged buyouts, opening the door to many more lender-driven restructuring deals.

PAI is offering to inject 135 million euros ($188.2 million) into the company and give lenders a large equity stake. In exchange lenders would accept a huge debt reduction.

Under the private equity company's plan, Monier's total debt would fall from about 1.7 billion euros to about 550 million euros, one of the sources said.

In a significant about-turn, PAI's revised offer will see its new money subordinated and ranking behind senior lenders' debt in the capital structure, two of the sources said.

The rival distressed restructuring offer would see between 175 million and 200 million euros injected into the company, the lender source said.

Monier Group is being advised by Goldman Sachs while the senior lender group is being advised by Houlihan Lokey.

(Reporting by Tom Freke and Tessa Walsh)

($1=.7172 Euro)

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