Source close to refinancing talks says debt-for-equity swap was ‘never on the cards’

Taylor Wimpey’s lenders are not interested in taking a slice of the company in return for agreeing a refinancing deal, according to sources close to the situation.

Last month the housebuilder won vital breathing space to complete refinancing talks before the end of March amid reports that lenders would take a single-digit equity stake in the company in return for granting a deal on its £1.9bn debt pile.

But one source close to the talks said: “A debt-for-equity swap is not happening and was never on the cards. Banks do not want a housebuilder on their balance sheet and lenders will only receive an equity upside via warrants.”

Warrants entitle holders to buy shares at a future date at a specified price. The source dismissed fears that the issue of more shares in the form of warrants could dilute the current value of Taylor Wimpey’s equity. “The diluting effect will certainly be less than 10%,” they said.

They added: “The warrants are purely a sweetener for lenders. There is absolutely no desire from any of the banks to take a stake in the company.”

A dilution of less than 10% would be viewed favourably by shareholders, according to Chris Millington, an analyst at Numis. He said: “If it happens it will be very good news for them.”

The source confirmed that, as part of the refinancing deal, Taylor Wimpey’s lenders would provide it with an 18-month bridge facility on its debt that could be extended into 2011 if needed.

They added that the rate of interest on the loan was still a “moving target” but would be set about five percentage points above the interbank rate.

Meanwhile, Bovis Homes became the latest housebuilder to put its finances on a firmer footing by agreeing a refinancing deal to replace its £220m facility last month.

What a difference a month makes

Chris Rickard, finance director, trading update, 11 November: Progress on debt talks has been “a tad disappointing”

Pete Redfern, chief executive, leaked email to staff, 12 December: “We have had a very productive couple of weeks on our debt negotiations, significantly increasing our confidence of reaching an acceptable solution”