UPDATE 1-Events magazine Time Out launches share sale to cut debt

(Adds details on cash, background)

May 22 (Reuters) - Food and events guide specialists Time Out Group Plc launched a 45 million pounds share issue on Friday as it seeks to restructure its debt and give the company cash to ride out a coronavirus-led slump in advertising and the restaurant industry.

The company, which has been forced to shut six of its Time Out Market outlets in North America and Europe due to lockdowns, also announced an open offer to raise about 4 million pounds ($4.88 million) at an issue price of 35 pence per share.

More than half of the new shares will be taken up by Time Out’s main investor, private equity fund Oakley Capital, and around half of the proceeds will be used to pay off loans owed to the fund.

The issue will also allow Time Out to restructure its outstanding debt facilities with another fund, Incus Capital Advisers, which will save the company 5.3 million pounds by November 2021.

Launched in 1968 to detail everything the British capital had to offer, the weekly magazine has since then expanded to 328 cities around the world through online listings, events and branded markets.

The company has furloughed 23% of Time Out Media staff since the start of the coronavirus crisis, laid off hourly paid workers and suspended all print editions globally while temporarily rebranding as Time In.

Even if Time Out’s markets do not reopen until December in Lisbon and March in North America, the company expects to have enough working capital through to November next year, assuming it raises at least 45 million pounds from the share sale.

Time Out said it had available cash reserves of about 3.6 million pounds as at May 1 and expects to have a monthly cash outflow of about 1.5 million pounds while its markets are shut.

$1 = 0.8193 pounds Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta