November 13, 2012 / 8:06 AM / 5 years ago

Yellow Pages publisher Hibu to ready restructuring plan by January

Nov 12 (Reuters) - British Yellow Pages publisher Hibu Plc , struggling with heavy debt, said it plans to present a restructuring proposal to lenders by January and would try to clean up its balance sheet by the first half of 2013.

The company, formerly Yell Group, has already formed a committee of lenders to lead the restructuring talks and has suspended loan payments.

Hibu said last month that it reached a deal with the lenders committee to defer repayments for 537.3 million pounds ($852.6 million) of debt until it fixes its balance sheet.

The directories publisher had net debt of 2.09 billion pounds and cash of 112 million pounds as of Sept. 30.

It is yet to reach a deal with other lenders, some of whom have threatened legal actions to recover up to 65 million pounds.

Hibu reported a pretax profit of 7 million pounds for the six months ended Sept. 30, down from 69.2 million pounds a year earlier. Revenue fell 15 percent to 659.9 million pounds.

The company has been hurt most by the decline at its legacy phone book business and has also been slow in reacting to the shift to online advertising as people increasingly use the Internet to look up local listings.

Hibu’s stock, which once traded at more than 600 pence a share, closed at 0.27 pence on the London Stock Exchange on Monday.

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