LONDON Aug 22 Banks have prepared a 725 million
pound (1.20 billion US dollar) leveraged loan financing to back
privately owned Bestway Group's acquisition of Britain's
Co-operative Group's pharmacy business, banking sources
said on Friday.
The Co-operative Group agreed to sell its pharmacy business
to Bestway for 620 million pounds in July, following a formal
sales process initiated by the mutually owned Co-op, reflecting
its decision that the pharmacy business was not part of its
JP Morgan and Nomura are leading the all senior loan
financing, which will be launched for general syndication in
September and sold to bank and institutional investors, the
banking sources said.
An initial debt structure has been proposed and is being
considered by lenders but could be adjusted before the financing
is formally launched next month. The proposed deal comprises a
75 million pound revolving credit facility and 650 million
pounds of senior term loans split between a 125 million pound,
six-year term loan A and 525 million pound, seven-year term loan
B, the sources said.
The revolving credit and TLA are guided to pay 400 basis
points (bp) over Libor and the TLB is guided at 425bp over
Libor, they said.
The term loan debt is guided with a 1 percent Libor floor,
which guarantees a minimum return for investors. There is also
101 soft call for 12 months on the TLB. Original Issue Discounts
are to be decided, they added.
Bestway was not immediately available to comment.
The Co-op, a well-known high street presence with banks,
supermarkets and funeral homes, said earlier this year that it
was looking to shed non-core assets to shore up its finances and
revitalise the group. Proceeds from the pharmacy sale will be
used to reduce the Co-op's 1.4 billion pounds of debt and invest
in its core businesses across its retail and consumer services
Bestway's business includes the UK's second largest
independent wholesaler serving 125,000 independent retailers and
caterers. Its retail club business is the largest in the UK with
over 4,000 members.
Bestway will have the right to operate under the
Co-operative Pharmacy brand for a transitional period of 12
(1 US dollar = 0.6034 British pound)
(Editing by Christopher Mangham)