* Exchange offer deadline set for Dec. 28
* Shares down 16 pct
* Lenders amend credit agreement
By Carey Gillam
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., Dec 23 (Reuters) - U.S. trucker YRC Worldwide (YRCW.O) said Wednesday that it again was extending the deadline to successfully complete a crucial debt-for-equity swap as it continued to work to convince bondholders to participate.
The company said late Wednesday, only hours before the exchange offer was set to expire, that it would extend the offer until 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 28 (0459 gmt Dec. 29).
YRC, which is the largest U.S. trucking firm handling smaller, or less-than-truckload shipments, is struggling to stay out of bankruptcy and has hinged its hopes for financial restructuring on convincing bondholders to swap more than $500 million in debt for equity in the company.
But bondholders have proven reluctant and YRC has repeatedly extended the offer deadline as it seeks to build bondholder participation.
On Wednesday, YRC said 53 percent of the 8-1/2 percent notes had been tendered in its exchange offer. The company said 90 percent of the aggregate principal amount of its 5.0 percent and 3.375 percent notes had been tendered into the exchange offers, representing 80 percent overall of the company’s outstanding notes.
A week ago, 35 percent of the 8-1/2 percent notes and 91 percent of the aggregate principal amount of the 5.0 percent and 3.375 percent notes had been tendered, representing 75 percent of the company’s outstanding notes.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission that the bond deal was being hampered by financial firms promoting strategies to reward investors should the company fail.
But Wall Street players and analysts have largely dismissed such claims.
Prior to extending the bond offer deadline, YRC said it had reached agreement with lenders on an amended credit agreement aimed at continuing to help the company avoid bankruptcy.
Overland Park, Kansas-based YRC shares closed down 16.6 percent at 95.08 cents on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. (Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Gary Hill)