Wyevale Garden Centres £100m refinancing 'set to go ahead'

A £100m refinancing from Hayfin, as revealed by Horticulture Week last month, is believed to have been finalised and is set to go ahead as Wyevale Garden Centres post their results in the next week.

The group has to announce results by the end of September. The Terra Firma-owned chain plans to reveal a new strategy with a new management set-up and financing.

Wyevale, which is owned by Guy Hands' Terra Firma Capital Partners is believed to have finalised the agreement with Hayfin, a specialist lender, after months of talks. Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group are also said to be involved in the refinancing.

Horticulture Week revealed the deal on 3 August. Wyevale hoped to post results by the end of August.

By May 2017, fixed assets were £58.4m lower than budget, mainly because of a £51.3m impairment agreed as part of the audit process, with the remaining difference due to lower capital expenditure.

Auditor is KPMG, after Deloittes resigned in January 2017.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the year to 27 December 2015 were £55m, down from £56.1m the previous year. Net assets were £302.3m. Wyevale is now striving to reach £34m EBITDA.

Meanwhile, sales in peak season April 2017 were 20% up but were 9% down in May and have not been strong since, mirroring the rest of the sector.

Wyevale owner Terra Firma, which bought the chain for £276m in 2012, had to spend £25m buying out a lending bank's debt in January. Terra Firma was outbid for Dobbies by Midlothian in 2016.

This September 24, the group will close its Handcross centre, which is being redeveloped. There are plans for development at Beaconsfield and Windlesham

Wyevale has added 22 centres since Terra Firma bought the then 129-centre chain. It has recently signed an EPOS replacement deal with Oracle worth £7.5m.

Wyevale Garden Centres refused to comment on the refinancing but said accounts will be filed within deadline.

Meanwhile, Wyevale bulb category manager Patrick Wall says 250,000 shoppers are expected on 23-24 September and the chain will sell 700,000 packs of bulbs over the following 10 weeks, with Narcissus Tete a tete, red, purple and pink tulip bulbs dark blue hyacinths the most popular.

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