Apollo, Towerbrook, York in Talks With Monier Group

(Reuters) – A group of three distressed investors courted lenders to French building materials company Monier Group on Monday as they ready a formal offer, sources close to the talks said.

Monier Group is owned by private equity firm Paribas Affaires Industrielles (PAI), but the distressed investors are working on a counter-bid to take control after lenders rejected PAI’s aggressive restructuring proposals last week.

The three distressed debt investors — Apollo Management [APOLO.UL], TowerBrook Capital and York Capital — met a steering committee of Monier’s lenders on Monday, a lender source said.

The two groups agreed to work on a proposal to take control of the company, the source said, in a sign investors and bankers are taking a tougher line with private equity owners in European debt restructurings.

The distressed investors, which have been building a stake by buying up debt in the secondary loan market, said they have a two-thirds majority of the first lien or senior debt.

A banking source told Thomson Reuters LPC last week that the three distressed debt investors owned around 40 percent of Monier’s debt.

Monier denied on Monday that the two groups were working together on a proposal, adding that the distressed debt investors do not have a majority of lender support.

Reaching a resolution is a pressing concern for Monier Group, which owes about 1.7 billion euros ($2.29 billion) and faces an interest payment on June 30. [ID:nLC482363]

Monier said it hopes to see two proposals, one from PAI and another from the distressed debt investors by the end of May.

OFFER DELAYED

Lenders rejected PAI’s aggressive debt-for-equity proposal last week and are now waiting for a formal counter-offer from the distressed investors.

KPMG has been hired by the distressed investors to conduct a business review, the lender source said, adding the formal proposal has been delayed by Monier Group withholding information from KPMG.

Monier Group said, it was fully cooperating with KPMG’s requests. KPMG declined to comment.

Monier Group is one of the world’s largest roof tiling and chimney companies and owns Redland, a UK roof tiling company.

PAI and Monier are being advised by Goldman Sachs. The distressed debt investors are being advised by Houlihan Lokey. ($1=.7422 Euro) (Editing by Andre Grenon)