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Yellow Pages publisher heavily indebted

Feb 12 2013 13:51 Reuters

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London - Yellow Pages publisher Hibu, which is grappling with a heavy debt load, said it remains in talks with lenders and expects to reach a deal on restructuring its debt "in the near future."

Hibu said in October that it would suspend debt repayments and that it planned to present a restructuring proposal to lenders by January to clean up its balance sheet by the first half of 2013.

Hibu had just over £2bn of debt as of December 31, built up in a series of acquisitions including a €3.3bn deal to buy a Spanish directories business in 2006.

Like other directories publishers, Hibu has been struggling to cope with a slide in its print businesses as more people turn to the Internet for local listings.

The company said revenue fell 14% to £314m in the quarter ended December 31. Revenue at its print and other directory businesses fell 22%.

However, revenue at its digital services business rose 31%. Digital revenue now makes up 36% of overall revenue, up from 30% last year.

Shares in the company, which once traded at more than 600 pence, were up 3% at 0.34 pence at 08:04 GMT on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

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