Shareholders in Arqiva are set to invest £400 million of fresh equity into the company as part of an agreement to refinance its £3.7 billion debt pile.
The TV broadcast business, whose existing debt facility is due to expire in 2014, has struck an agreement to borrow around £2.5 billion from a group of 20 banks, but will need to put new funds into the business as part of the deal. The fresh injection of cash will make Arqiva eligible for an investment-grade credit rating, facilitating the other part of its refinancing plan – to issue a £500 millio bond.
Arqiva’s investors, who include private equity firm Macquarrie, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Australia’s Industry Funds Management, added £400 million of fresh equity to a £380 million reserve of cash they had already built up by not taking dividends over the last few years.
“Our shareholders have played a fundamental role in Arqiva’s refinancing and have not taken any distributions since 2009. An equity contribution of £780 million will support the company as part of the refinancing,” Arqiva’s spokesman said.
Arqiva was saddled with a large amount of debt when its investors bought into the business. Some of the money has also been used in an acquisition spree and the cost of switching from analogue to digital technology.