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British pub operator Fuller, Smith & Turner gets debt waiver, eyes share sale

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·1-min read
Signage is seen outside of a Fuller's pub in Chiswick, London, Britain
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(Reuters) - British pub operator Fuller, Smith & Turner said on Wednesday it received a waiver from its lenders as it launched a share sale to shore up its books in the face of massive pandemic-led losses.

The company said it expects a drop of about 80% drop in sales from its pubs and hotels in the full year to March 2021.

The London-listed company, whose net debt has jumped to 216 million pounds, said it was offering 6.5 million of its Class A shares at 830 pence apiece, and also an offering of Class B shares. Shares were marginally lower at 860 pence in early trading.

Fuller, Smith & Turner said for each month of the latest lockdown it has a cash burn of between 4 million pounds and 5 million pounds ($5.5 million and $6.9 million).

The pub operator has already cut jobs, sold some businesses after a first-half loss as the coronavirus-led social distancing measures and curfews led to a shutdown of its businesses and hammered the hospitality sector.

The maturity extension and change in debt covenants is conditional on the share offer, Fuller, Smith & Turner said.

It also said it was preparing to ensure the business reopens "strongly'.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out a four-stage easing of the lockdown in February, with hospitality venues, restaurants and pubs to be reopened from April 12 for outdoor services only.

($1 = 0.7286 pounds)

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)