Report: Gala Coral Seeks Waiver in Debt Restructuring

LONDON (Reuters) – British gaming group Gala Coral, laden with debts of 2.5 billion pounds, has asked for three waivers from senior debt holders including a request to delay publishing its annual accounts, the Daily Telegraph reported on Saturday.

Gala Coral, home to 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 [CINV.UL] and Permira [PERM.UL].

The group has offered a fee equivalent to 0.125 percent — or around 2.3 million pounds — of its 1.83 billion pounds ($2.92 billion) of senior debt in exchange for delaying its accounts, skipping a Jan 26 covenant test and being allowed to hold separate talks with senior lenders and mezzanine debt holders, the Telegraph reported without citing sources.

Gala Coral has given senior lenders, led by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), until next Friday to respond, the paper said.

Senior lenders have also asked mezzanine debt holders, owed 540 million pounds and led by Park Square and Intermediate Capital Group (ICP.L), to inject 150 million pounds into Gala Coral if they are to reach an agreement on how to restructure the 2.5 billion debt, the Financial Times reported on Saturday citing people close to the situation.

Gala Coral could not be reached immediately for comment.

While mezzanine holders are seen as front runners to agree a deal, Gala Coral received counter proposals from private equity firms Blackstone (BX.N) and Apollo Management, a source familiar with the process told Reuters in December. (Reporting by Andy Bruce) ($1=.6269 Pound)