Johnston Press launches £360m refinancing plan

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Newspaper publisher Johnston Press today unveiled plans for a £360 million refinancing as it launched a regional advertising tie-up with satellite broadcaster Sky.

Under the proposals, the owner of The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday newspapers will issue about £220m in bonds and raise £137.7m through a share issue.

The group, which publishes about 200 titles in total, will also raise about £2.3m through a share placing and enter into a new £25m revolving credit facility.

Chief executive Ashley Highfield said: “Johnston Press has already achieved much in turning around our business performance, with 2013 marking a return to underlying operating profit growth for the first time in seven years.

“The refinancing of the business is another key milestone for the company and I am delighted to be announcing this capital refinancing plan.”

Today’s move came as Johnston Press said customers using its print and digital platforms for advertising will now be able to use Sky’s AdSmart product, which lets businesses target their TV advertising at specific local markets.

Andrew Griffith, managing director for commercial businesses at Sky, said: “Sky AdSmart local helps level the playing field for local businesses.

“They can now compete effectively with national brands, using the unique brand-building power of TV.”

Sky is also planning to invest about £5m in Johnston Press by taking part in the share placing and issue.