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Mecom in discussions to extend bank facilities

Mecom, a Northern Europe-focused publishing business, saw its shares rise after announcing that it is in discussions with its lenders to extend the term of the current bank facilities by one year.

Mecom, a Northern Europe-focused publishing business, saw its shares rise after announcing that it is in discussions with its lenders to extend the term of the current bank facilities by one year.

The share price was also boosted by the news the company's subsidiary, Koninklijke Wegener, had to pay €2.2m rather than €20.6m to the the Dutch Competition Authority, in respect of alleged breaches of undertakings given by Wegener at the time of its acquisition of VNU Dagbladen in March 2000. The fine was settled in December, it said.

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The group also said that its full year results for 2012 are expected to be in line with previous guidance, with total revenue down around nine per cent compared to the previous year.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, the group continued to experience advertising revenue declines in all territories, with total advertising revenue down by 17% in the three months to December 31st, compared to a 20% decline in the third quarter, resulting in a 17% decline for the full year.

On-going earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year were around €89m. Total group EBITDA is estimated to be €105m.

The group said it expects adjusted earnings per share from on-going operations to be around 24 euro cents, and expects to propose a final dividend in line with its stated dividend policy of dividends being about three times covered by net adjusted earnings.

Total operating costs for the year were around seven per cent lower than in 2011, with the on-going restructuring programme contributing significantly to this reduction.

Mecom also revealed that "expressions of interest" have been received for the entire Danish operations, and it will invite a "small number" of potential buyers to conduct due diligence shortly.

In Poland, it received a number of offers for the group's operations and is now in exclusive discussions with one party.

Stephen Davidson, Executive Chairman, said: "I am pleased that we expect to deliver 2012 results in line with the trading statement we made on 6th June 2012. During a period of sustained economic pressure and notwithstanding the additional demands of the Strategic Review processes, our people remain committed to the improvement and modernisation of our products and businesses.

"In 2013 we expect further benefits to come from restructuring initiatives and the launch of new subscription packages that provide our readers different and innovative ways to access our content."

The share price rose 7.34% to 87.75p by 13:50.

NR

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