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Bondholders give Blue Star the green light

Wednesday, 10 August 2011
By Print21

Solid vote in favour of the refinancing proposal clears the decks for the company to continue to operate as one of the largest printing enterprises in the region.

A clear majority of bondholders at a meeting in Auckland today voted 76.9% in favour of a refinancing proposal, surpassing the required 75% approval. The outcome, from what was described as a tense meeting, averts the possibility of Blue Star going into liquidation.

The bondholders have to swap their $105 million existing bonds into two different lots – $67.5 million that won’t pay interest until 2013 and $37.5 million that will never pay interest but over the long term can be converted into equity. They also had to write off $32.5 million of unpaid accrued interest.

Chris Mitchell, managing director said he appreciated the difficult choice facing the bondholders. In a statement to the NZ stock exchange he said; “The Board appreciates the decision of Bondholders to give this company time to demonstrate that it can deliver on the repositioning and restructuring that it is undertaking to drive higher levels of earnings. Improved performance is the key to Bondholders receiving some or all of their investment back. The Company remains confident in its plan.

“The approval of the refinancing package means that a cloud has been lifted from the company. We now have the financial confidence to be able to move forward and deliver on our strategies.

“Our staff, suppliers and customers have been hugely patient through these difficult times and I thank them for their support.”

He spoke with Print21 immediately after the meeting.

“I’ve been humbled by the experience. It is fairly tense going through this kind of public restructuring. It was high water mark to meet and we’ve exceeded that. We can now get on with delivering value to our customers.”

Suppliers on both sides of the Tasman who faced a bloodbath of debt default in any liquidation have greeted the decision with widespread relief. It comes as Blue Star is bedding in the first HP T350 high-speed inkjet at Silverwater, a game-changing technology that plays an essential role in Blue Star’s Agile restructure.

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