Published:  12:56 AM, 12 September 2018

McDonald's buns maker Aryzta strikes deal with banks ahead of capital hike

McDonald's buns maker Aryzta strikes deal with banks ahead of capital hike

One of the world's largest bakery companies, Aryzta, has agreed an underwriting deal with five banks, setting the stage for raising 800 million euros ($928.48 million) in new capital to strengthen its balance sheet.

Shares in the maker of McDonald's burger buns to Otis Spunkmeyer cookies rose as much as 8 percent after the company named BofA Merrill Lynch and UBS as lead managers, and Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and HSBC Bank plc as joint global coordinators of its capital raising.

The Swiss-Irish company has warned on its at least three times since 2017 due to rising distribution and labor costs in North America, problems with undocumented workers at a U.S. bakery, high butter prices and weak consumer spending in some European markets, particularly Britain following its vote to leave the European Union.

Aryzta, which said last month it needed a cash infusion following a net loss of more than 1 billion euros in 2017, also said on Tuesday it had won the consent of a majority of its lenders to amend an existing facilities agreement.

As part of the deal the company's net debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) covenant will rise to 5.75 times, from 4.0 times for January 2019 and to 5.25 times for July 2019 from 3.5 times. 

Analyst Andreas von Arx of Baader Helvea said the deal with banks and lenders "shows Aryzta is making progress toward the capital increase" and helped t reduce uncertainty.

"The amended credit conditions should provide the flexibility to execute on the turnaround measures," von Arx wrote in a note to investors. Even so, he is sticking with his "hold" rating, as Aryzta has failed repeatedly to deliver on priorities of selling assets or stabilizing results. 

---Reuters, Zurich

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