March 16, 2017 / 10:55 AM / 6 months ago

Head of French retailer Vivarte says has reached deal on debt

PARIS (Reuters) - Private-equity backed French clothing retailer Vivarte, in talks to restructure more than 1.3 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of debt, has sealed a deal with its lenders, chairman and chief executive Patrick Puy told French newspaper Les Echos.

Vivarte, which has put up several of its brands for sale under the restructuring, could announce the sale of its Pataugas shoe brand to a private investor within two weeks, he added.

The debt restructuring plan, which was agreed by all of the retailer’s 172 creditors, calls for the conversion of 846 million euros of debt into equity.

This leaves Vivarte with 572 million euros of debt, whose maturity has been extended to 2021, and which creditors have agreed to waive if this became necessary.

“The matter of Vivarte’s debt is definitively settled,” Puy said in the interview with Les Echos.

Vivarte, whose brands include Kookai, La Halle, Caroll, Minelli and Chevignon, has been owned since 2014 by a group led by investment funds Alcentra, Babson, Oaktree and GLG Partners.

The company, whose profits and sales have fallen amid competition from larger clothing retail chains such as H&M (HMb.ST), Kiabi and Primark, has been trying to restructure its business for several years.

It is currently seeking to sell Kookai, Chevignon, Pataugas, Andre, Naf Naf and Spanish shoe brand Merkal.

Chevignon was drawing interest from private buyers and Kookai from industrial investors and private equity groups, while the sale of Merkal to an industrial investor could be sealed soon, Puy said.

($1 = 0.9334 euros)

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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