Neiman Marcus said Monday that it has an agreement with a majority of its lenders to extend debt maturities by three years, which the Dallas-based company said will give it the time it needs to carry out plans to grow out of its vexing debt problems.
The agreement is with holders of 55 percent of its term loan and 60 percent of its unsecured notes and follows a preliminary agreement announced March 1.
The lenders’ show of support is a win for CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck, who said Monday that the agreement “provides substantial value to our lenders and creates ample runway to execute on and complete Neiman Marcus Group’s transformation plan into a luxury customers platform.”
Now the next hard chapter begins as Neiman Marcus tries to fix its balance sheet by growing the company. Two leveraged buyouts within 10 years left the company with what credit analysts call an unsustainable level of debt. The retailer’s almost $5 billion in debt equals its annual revenue.
“The commitments we have obtained for this transaction are a validation of our business and transformation strategy and our leadership team,” van Raemdonck said. “We are appreciative of our lenders for their support and for the confidence they have put in our long-term success.”
— The $2.8 billion term loan that was to mature in October 2020 is now extended three years and requires the company to repay $150 million in unsecured notes. The term loan was amended to pay down $550 million that’s funded with new second lien notes that mature in April 2024. Lenders get enhanced credit protections such as increase in interest rates and amortization, more restrictive covenants, more protections to call in their loans and more collateral.
— An exchange offer to bondholders of $1.6 billion will begin in April. Bondholders of high interest notes paying 8 percent to 9.5 percent interest and due in 2021 will receive $250 million, or 10 percent equity, in the company’s European subsidiary, MyTheresa. The Munich, Germany-based subsidiary has been the subject of a couple of lawsuits in Dallas County District Court, one that Judge Tonya Parker tossed out and another that she hasn’t yet ruled on.
— New, third lien notes due in 2024 will be paid the same cash interest rates, and have a collateral package of $200 million in unencumbered real estate and other measures including more restrictive covenants.
Neiman Marcus said these amendments to its debt agreements will give it time to drive sales to more than $5 billion and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes and other items to more than $700 million within five years. In its fiscal 2018, Neiman Marcus reported comparable adjusted earnings of $477.1 million and sales of $4.9 billion.
“The imperative NMG has is extending the maturity schedule to enable them to achieve the five year plan they laid out,” said Debtwire senior analyst Philip Emma. He noted that the exchange proposals now vs. what was first presented in negotiations last year “are less onerous on the company in terms of the coupon and pay down provisions the bondholders were asking for initially.”
The company has said all its stores are profitable. It just opened its first store in New York in a new mall in Hudson Yards that is attracting a lot of attention and is surrounded by new office and residential towers. The development that some are calling “a billionaires’ playground” is on the Lower West Side of Manhattan and more buildings are in the works.
Neiman Marcus’ big challenge will be to grow its business. Its 43 Neiman Marcus stores are already in the major U.S. cities with the highest concentration of wealthy shoppers and it’s online business exceeds 30 percent of its total revenue. The company pulled back on its Last Call store concept, closing stores in 2017. Neiman Marcus also owns the two Bergdorf Goodman stores in Manhattan.