Eircom has announced that the three group companies placed under examinership status on 29 March 2012 – Eircom Limited, Meteor Mobile Communications Limited and Irish Telecommunications Investments Limited – have successfully emerged from bankruptcy with a new shareholder structure and with 40% of its debts wiped out. In a press statement yesterday, Eircom confirmed that a new simplified capital structure has been put in place and a new holding company – Eircom Holdings (Ireland) Limited – created. The equity in the new firm is owned entirely by the telco’s 200-strong group of lenders, led by US investment giant Blackstone, and former shareholders Singapore Technologies Telemedia (ST Telemedia) and the Employee Share Ownership Trust (ESOT) have lost their stakes in the company.
The statement goes on to say that Eircom’s examinership ‘provides the basis for a more sustainable capital structure’, with EUR1.7 billion (USD2.14 billion) of debt removed from the balance sheet, which will allow the group ‘to progress with the execution of the five year business plan supported by the board and its lenders’.
Commenting on the announcement Eircom Group chairman Ned Sullivan, said: ‘A new chapter for the group begins today. Our new shareholders are fully committed to a strong future for Eircom. Having successfully navigated examinership and the consequent restructuring of the balance sheet, the group can look forward to executing the next phases of its strategy.’ It is understood that the carrier’s new owners have indicated that they will seek a buyer for Eircom in the near- to medium-term, but in the meantime will work towards the objectives of their five-year plan in which up to 1,000 jobs are likely to go through voluntary redundancy and natural attrition.
In March this year CommsUpdate reported that Eircom submitted an application to the High Court in Dublin to be placed in examinership. In a statement the group confirmed that Mr Justice Peter Kelly had confirmed Court protection for the three firms. The decision was ultimately designed to return the group’s balance sheet to a stable financial footing for the medium- to long-term, with reduced debt.