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Firestone seeks to issue ordinary shares to service interest on bonds

03 october 2019

firestone_diamonds_logo.pngFirestone Diamonds will seek approval from its shareholders for, among other things, the continued issue of ordinary shares of 1 pence each as interest payments under the terms of the $30 million Series A Eurobond debt facility to Pacific Road and Resource Capital.  
“The company wishes to continue to service the interest on the Series A Bonds through the issuance of ordinary shares to the bondholders and is therefore seeking approval to issue up to 195,309,376 Series A interest shares…,” it said.
The Series A Bonds are repayable in two tranches, $20 million due on 4 August 2022 and $10 million due on 3 January 2023.
Firestone previously issued ordinary shares to pay quarterly interest, which had accrued in respect of the Series A Bonds. 
However, due to consequences of the takeover code, and the terms of the Series A Bonds, it requires independent shareholder approval to permit the bondholders to receive further ordinary shares from 30 September 2019 without triggering a mandatory offer to shareholders.
Meanwhile, Firestone said although the group's cash balance was $21 million as at 30 September 2019, the trading environment remains difficult and as a result it is actively engaging with its debtholders to ensure it can sustain operations through the current downturn. “However further deterioration in the financial or trading position is possible and may have material implications for the solvency of the company independently of the passing of the resolutions,” it said.
Trading conditions continue to be challenging due to the ongoing depressed pricing of rough diamonds across the industry as well as fewer valuable stones recovered resulting in lower than expected average values being realised.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished