RLPC-Vivarte lenders propose 2 bln euro restructuring

LONDON, June 4 Wed Jun 4, 2014 10:31am EDT

LONDON, June 4 (Reuters) - Struggling French retailer Vivarte has reached an agreement with 12 lenders on a financial restructuring to wipe out 2 billion euros ($2.72 billion) of debt and inject new money that will see lenders take the business, it was announced on Wednesday.

Alcentra, Hayfin, Oaktree, ICG, Canyon, Goldentree, Babson, Oak Hill, GLG Partners, CSAM, 3i and Avoca -- which between them own over 50 percent of the company's debt, have proposed to inject 500 million euros of new money and reduce debt to 800 million euros from 2.8 billion euros in a debt-for-equity swap.

The 2 billion euros of debt will be converted into equity and quasi-equity instruments, the announcement said.

The agreement was presented on Wednesday to all of Vivarte's lenders, which will now vote on the proposal.

All of the lenders need to approve the proposal but if two-thirds agree to it, Vivarte can request a Sauvegarde Financiere Acceleree (SFA) process, the French equivalent to a UK scheme of arrangement, which will bind all lenders to the deal, a source said.

As part of the proposal, Vivarte will have a new governance structure chaired by the group's CEO and consisting of nine board members.

Vivarte entered into a four-month conciliation process with its lenders in March to negotiate a way forward after failing to get an agreement from a majority of its lenders to suspend loan covenant tests. A number of lenders submitted letters of intent on how to restructure Vivarte's debt in April and five formal offers were submitted on May 9.

Private equity firm Charterhouse, bought Vivarte in 2007, backed by 3.43 billion euros of leveraged loans, but has struggled to manage its debt in an unfavourable economic and consumer environment in France. ($1 = 0.7342 Euros) (Editing by Christopher Mangham)

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