Gala Coral Lenders Seek Cash Infusion

LONDON (Reuters) – Lenders to UK gaming group Gala Coral have put forward a plan to pump 175 million pounds into the troubled company, in a bid to restructure its debt, the FT reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources.

Gala Coral, home of bingo halls and a chain of bookmakers, is in the middle of a long-running debt restructuring that has seen lenders and private equity suitors vie for control of the gaming giant, owned by Candover (CDI.L), Cinven and Permira.

A group of key lenders, including Alcentra, Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) have discussed a deal with investors, who bought into the company’s mezzanine debt, to underwrite a 175 million pound injection of funds, the paper said.

Under the terms of the deal, the creditors’ 540 million pound claims would convert into equity. In return Gala’s lenders would expect to have some of their debt repaid and receive a higher rate of interest on their loans, the paper said.

Last month Apollo Management, Cerberus Capital Management and Goldman Sachs bought a stake of around 130 million pounds in Gala Coral’s junior debt at a discount of around 69 percent of face value.

No one at Gala Coral could immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Richard Chang)