RLPC-Stemcor seeks banks' approval for restructuring plan

LONDON Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:23pm IST

LONDON Aug 16 (Reuters) - Stemcor, the world's largest steel trader, will present a restructuring plan to its lenders on August 28 in a bid to get it approved before a debt standstill expires on September 16, people familiar with the matter said.

Like many steel companies, Stemcor has been hit hard by the global financial crisis. It secured a 100-day standstill agreement with its lenders in late June to stabilise the company while a restructuring plan was developed.

The restructuring plan was initially outlined to Stemcor's bank co-ordinating committee, which consists of top lenders including ABN AMRO Bank, HSBC, ING, Natixis and Societe Generale, on July 29th after an all-lender meeting on July 23.

As part of the restructuring plan, Stemcor is seeking to sell its Indian iron ore assets through an international auction.

India's Saraf family, which has a 23 percent stake in an iron ore mine owned by Stemcor has the first option to buy out the UK firm if it decides to sell its stake.

Privately-owned Stemcor, which is also the UK's fifth biggest private company, had to put a standstill agreement in place after failing to refinance a maturing $850 million, 364-day loan which was originally agreed in April 2012.

Under a standstill agreement, lenders agree not to ask for repayment and work with the company to restructure the debt or extend its maturity.

The standstill covers $1.2 billion of loans, which includes the $850 million loan, a $225 million, 364-day loan that was syndicated in Asia last October for Stemcor (S.E.A.) Pte Ltd and additional debt.

Stemcor was formed in London in 1951 and had turnover of more than 5 billion pounds in 2012. The majority of shares are held by the Oppenheimer family, with the balance of shares held by other directors and employees. (Additional reporting by Sandra Tsui and Jacqueline Poh)