Four Seasons Lenders Agree To Extend Debt Talks

LONDON (Reuters) – Four Seasons Health Care, the debt-laden British care home operator, has agreed a six-month extension in talks with lenders, it said late on Tuesday.

The firm has around 1.5 billion pounds ($2.11 billion) of debt, but earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of just 100 million pounds a year. It has been locked in talks with creditors for months.

A previous standstill agreement, allowing the company time to reach a deal with lenders, was due to expire on Thursday, Jan. 22. The new agreement runs until 22 July.

Four Seasons, one of Britain’s largest care home operators, said “progress has been made towards agreeing a robust capital structure for the group” but it needed more time to finalise negotiations with creditors.

Four Seasons said it was “hopeful that its proposals will attract support from the lenders”, but did not provide details of the planned deal.

A source close to a group of senior creditors said: “At first inspection, we welcome this proposal and we are hopeful it can form the basis for an agreement.”

The source said the plan included a cut in debt to around 1 billion pounds and an offer for creditors to take a stake in the company’s equity.

(Reporting by Tom Freke, editing by Will Waterman)