Mantle Group: OCP grants time to refi loans due last month amid talks with lenders

Breaking News 7 March

Mantle Group: OCP grants time to refi loans due last month amid talks with lenders

OCP Asia has granted more time to Mantle Group Hospitality to refinance its secured amortizing loans that matured last month as the Brisbane-based operator of pubs and restaurants is still in talks with potential lenders, according to a source familiar with and a source with knowledge of the matter.

Mantle’s debt advisor PwC has until close to the middle of this year to find a new lender to refinance the loans, said a second source familiar with the matter. After the deadline, the company can open the deal for other advisors as well, said the source with knowledge.

The first two sources did not specify how much time OCP has granted to clinch a refinancing deal. The loans have around AUD 50m outstanding, according to the source with knowledge.

Mantle – the operator of brands including The Charming Squire, Pig ‘N’ Whistle and Babylon Rooftop across Queensland and Sydney – around mid-2022 first began engaging potential lenders like Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) for a AUD 70m facility including growth capital, but the talks did not progress, as reported. Subsequently, the company engaged PwC for refinancing talks.

PwC was also the arranger of the AUD 85m senior secured refinancing facility Mantle originally obtained from OCP in February 2020, as reported. OCP in 2021 underwrote a AUD 20m upsize of the facility through the issue of loan notes, arranged by Panthea Capital, a 14 January 2021 announcement regarding the deal shows.

In early 2022, Mantle paid down an unspecified portion of the OCP debt from the proceeds of a related entity’s land sale, as reported.

The company’s financial performance has recovered following the COVID-19 shutdowns, and it opened its latest Babylon restaurant in Brisbane in December 2022, said the source with knowledge.

The impact of COVID-19 lockdowns led to a breach of unspecified loan covenants as at 30 September 2021, Mantle's FY21 through 30 June 2021 report filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on 21 September 2022 states. As of 30 June 2021, the company had total borrowings of AUD 77.84m, against cash and equivalents of AUD 2.03m.

Mantle, fully owned by the family of Godfrey and Jenny Mantle, was established in 1979. It now operates venues across south-east Queensland and Sydney, according to the company website.

Mantle and OCP did not respond to requests for comment.

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