Under the new expiration deadline, holders of 2016 and 2017 notes have time until 11 March to accept the exchange offers and consent solicitations offered by Norske Skog.
Norway's newsprint and magazine paper manufacturer has pushed back again the deadline for its debt exchange proposal. On 24 February Norske Skog's parent Norske Skogindustrier ASA has announced the extension of exchange offers and consent solicitations for the €121.4m 11.75% senior notes due 2016 and €218.1m 7.00% senior notes due 2017. According to the company, holders of 2016 and 2017 notes have now two more weeks to accept the exchange offers and consent solicitations offered by Norske Skog. The new deadline will expire on 11 March, "provided that the temporary restraining order is at that time no longer in effect," Norske Skog explained.
The initial deadline for the exchange offer had been 3 February 2016, but it was extended to 26 February due to a temporary restraining order from a New York court, filed by Citibank on behalf of a group of 2019 secured senior bondholders, who consider the new debt restructuring proposal to be violating agreements governing the notes. Norske Skog rejects such claims as "without merit."
The debt exchange offer is backed by GSO Capital Partners, the credit branch of private equity firm Blackstone, and Cyrus Capital Partners who together hold a substantial part of the outstanding 2016 and 2017 notes, according to Norske Skog. The group of senior-secured bondholders who have filed a law suit against Norske Skog's debt swap proposal includes Blue Crest Capital, Marathon Asset Management and Finnish insurer Sampo Oyj, writes Bloomberg.
EC says yes to Blackstone acquiring sole control of Norske Skog
Meanwhile the European competition authority has cleared the way for the proposed acquisition of indirect sole control in Norske Skog by Blackstone within the meaning of Article 3 (1)(b) of the European Union Merger Regulation.
According to Norske Skog, the acquisition of indirect sole control is a consequence of the ongoing debt restructuring under the current exchange offer for the outstanding €121.4m 11.75% senior notes due 2016 and €218.1m 7.00% senior notes due 2017. GSO had already accepted the exchange offer launched by Norske Skog and, in the case that the exchange offers and consent solicitations are successful, will see its shareholding in the company rise further.
Blackstone does not have to acquire a majority stake to gain control of Norske Skog. According to a 35-40% historical attendance on the annual general meeting, a company needed about 20-25% of the outstanding shares to effectively control the annual general meeting, a Norske Skog spokesperson explained in early February.