Mecom sells Norwegian papers to reduce debt levels

David Montgomery’s Mecom Group has entered into an agreement to sell its newspapers and related businesses in North Western Norway to Polaris Media.

Mecom, which recently sold its German operation, said proceeds from the £55.9m sale would strengthen the company – with its remaining Dutch, Danish, Norwegian and Polish businesses – in the current market conditions.

The proceeds from the disposal will be used to reduce group borrowings by approximately £54.4m, Mecom said.

The transaction includes the sale of two daily newspapers on the North Western coast of Norway, Sunnmørsposten and Romsdas Budstikke.

The titles claim a daily circulation of 32,667 copies and 18,167 copies respectively. Both newspapers have been operating in the region for more than 120 years.

In addition to these titles, Sunnmørsposten and Romsdals Budstikke produce seven wholly owned local newspapers and three partly owned titles.

Mecom chief executive David Montgomery said: ‘We are pleased with the agreement we have signed with Polaris in relation to our operations in Northwestern Norway and believe, as with the sale of the Mecom’s German operations, that we have delivered value to shareholders by strengthening Mecom’s balance sheet in the current market.

“As previously stated, the board is confident that the continued strategy of reducing debt and focusing on our core assets greatly improves the position and prospects of the group.”

The disposal is expected to be completed in the first half of this year.

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