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Technicolor must sell shares to pay debt

December 30, 2010

Technicolor has said that it will issue new shares worth about €213 million to pay back creditors after it failed to sell assets in its restructuring process fast enough.

The group had issued about €265 million of debt in so-called disposal proceed notes (DPN) during its 18-month-long restructuring process in which it sought the protection of French courts to restructure billions in debt, lay off workers and streamline its business. The DPNs were supposed to pay back via asset sales before December 31.

But Technicolor has not been able to sell all of the assets it planned as quickly as it had hoped. After selling its ScreenVision unit in September for $60 million, it struggled to close deals for the three businesses of its Grass Valley unit.

As a result, Technicolor was forced to find another way to repay its creditors.

Chief Financial Officer Stephane Rougeot said the company would repay the DPNs via €52.3 million in cash from the Screenvision sale, as well as by issuing 50 million new shares at €4.255 per share.

The group held cash of €416 million as of June 30.

In a conference call with reporters, Rougeot said the share issue did not mean that Technicolor’s assets sales were a disappointment.

“We always said there would be a lot of uncertainty around the amounts and the timing of the asset sales, and as a result it was possible that we would issue shares instead as we were authorized to do so at the last shareholders’ meeting,” he said.

Rougeot added that discussions were ongoing over a sale of its PRN unit and that the sale of parts of Grass Valley was also in the works.

Last week, Technicolor said it had received a firm offer from Germany’s Partner Capital for the so-called transmission activity of Grass Valley, but that the amount from the sale would be “not material.”

Rougeot also said the Technicolor would see €319.2 million in convertible bonds turned to shares at the end of the year. These bonds were also to reach maturity on December 31.

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