Ceva Joins Rush of Struggling Companies Swapping Bonds

LONDON (Reuters) – Debt-laden Ceva Group launched a discounted bond exchange on Friday as it took steps to cut its large debt burden.

In the offer, the Dutch logistics firm will exchange outstanding bonds for between 47 percent and 62 percent of their face value, depending on the maturity of the bonds and the timing of the exchange.

The outstanding bonds have a total face value of 680.75 million euros but the company said it would issue no more than 210 million euros of new notes in the exchange offer.

The new second-priority secured notes mature in 2014 and pay a coupon of 12 percent.

Ceva, owned by private equity firm Apollo Management, has debts totalling about $2.5 billion, split between bank loans and bonds.

In March, rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded Ceva’s rating to B- due to “sharply deteriorating trading prospects”. The rating agency said Ceva’s earnings before interest, depreciation and amortisation had dropped 42 percent to 58 million euros in the final quarter of 2008.

Ceva’s bond exchange follows similar moves by other European companies.

Earlier on Friday, German fashion house Escada confirmed with Reuters its plans for a discounted bond exchange to help it avoid insolvency [ID:nLJ224457].

Meanwhile, NXP Semiconductors said late on Thursday that it had extended the early tender offer on its bond exchange, after few bondholders agreed to swap their bonds by the original date.

Ceva bondholders have until July 17 to exchange their bonds, with a higher price offered to bonds tendered by July 2.

(Reporting by Tom Freke; Editing by David Jones)