Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Embattled construction group Aveng says it is confident its shareholders will vote on Monday in favour of plans to sell R1.4bn worth of new shares at 10c each in order to settle some of its outstanding bonds.

The issuance of the new shares, at a significant premium to its market price of 4c on Friday, is one of the steps the company is taking to pay off convertible bonds ahead of their maturity in June 2019.

It will also redeem R657m of existing convertible bonds at 70% of its face value through the issuance of a new debt instrument of R460m, it said.

Aveng, whose share price has declined 94% over the past six months, said on Friday "continuous engagement" with shareholders had indicated there was support for the issuance of the shares.

A rights issue in June was successful, with the company raising R493m by issuing nearly 5 billion shares at 10c each.

The plans to cut debt and sell off noncore assets form part of the company’s attempts to strengthen its balance sheet and improve liquidity. According to the group, uncertainty about its ability to refinance the bonds had contributed to the decline in Aveng’s share price.

"Aveng remains firmly of the view that the implementation of the early bond redemption is in the best interest of all stakeholders. Deleveraging the company to reduce its debt burden and to improve liquidity is critical to realising value for shareholders," it said.

The group was upbeat about finding buyers for its unwanted assets — including Aveng Trident Steel, Aveng Grinaker-LTA and Aveng Manufacturing — by June 2019. "There has been engagement with potential buyers for all noncore assets, with non-binding offers received for several and negotiations well advanced on others," it said.

Aveng, with a market capitalisation of R213.9m on Friday, said it expected to announce a headline loss of R1.6bn-R1.77bn for the year when it releases results on September 25.

njobenis@businesslive.co.za