Aker BioMarine refinancing plan

Aker BioMarine and its majority shareholder and largest creditor, Aker ASA, have prepared a refinancing plan for the company. The plan establishes a solid financial foundation for advancing Aker BioMarine’s business activities. The company is in discussions with key bondholders to secure their approval of the refinancing plan.

The refinancing will strengthen Aker BioMarine’s capital structure and liquidity through the addition of at least NOK 550 million in equity from Aker and other Aker BioMarine shareholders. In view of the company’s significantly stronger capital structure and liquidity, holders of the Aker BioMarine bond that matures in May 2010 have been asked to accept a three-year extension of the loan’s maturity.

“Sales, operations, and profitability are developing well, and the refinancing plan we have drafted provides Aker BioMarine with a solid foundation for further growth,” says Aker BioMarine’s President and CEO Hallvard Muri. Mr. Muri comments further: At year-end 2009, Aker BioMarine had total gross debt of NOK 1 361 million; the figure includes the NOK 750 million bond loan that matures in May 2010. The equity ratio was 12 percent as of 31 December 2009.

“The way we see it, the refinancing plan is balanced and practical. Moreover, bondholders will have a receivable from a company with a considerably stronger financial backbone than is the case right now,” says Mr. Muri. “We are working with our financial advisors at Arctic Securities, to reach an agreement with our bondholders.”

As of 31 December 2009, Aker BioMarine’s debt to Aker totaled NOK 956 million, including accrued interest. The debt includes a convertible loan, Aker’s share of the bond loan, and a NOK 50 million short-term secured loan. Further, Aker has consented to Aker BioMarine borrowing an additional NOK 40 million in the first quarter of 2010. Offsetting such debt, Aker BioMarine holds a NOK 357 million receivable from Aker ASA, including accrued interest, and long-term receivables from Aker Ocean Harvest AS totaling NOK 166 million including accrued interest.

According to the refinancing plan, Aker’s NOK 473 million net receivable from Aker BioMarine will be converted into equity through a private placement of Aker BioMarine shares. To enable other shareholders to maintain their proportionate ownership interest and to provide necessary additional liquidity, plans are to carry out a private placement of shares directed at existing minority shareholders. The share price in this offering will be the same as in the private placement of shares directed at Aker. Both the share price and the final share issue amount will be determined at a later date. However, Arctic Securities’ assessment is that the share issue should be conducted at a price that is significantly discounted from the quoted share price. A condition established by Aker is that its ownership interest in Aker BioMarine must not exceed 90 percent following the completion of the share issues.

Source: Aker Biomarine

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