Food and events guide specialists Time Out Group has launched a £45m share issue as it seeks to restructure its debt and give the company cash to ride out a Covid-19-led slump in advertising and the restaurant sector.

The company has been forced to shut six of its Time Out Market outlets in North America and Europe due to lockdowns.

It also announced today an open offer to raise about £4m at an issue price of 35 pence per share. 

More than half of the new shares will be taken up by Time Out's main investor, private equity fund Oakley Capital, and around half of the proceeds will be used to pay off loans owed to the fund. 

The issue will also allow Time Out to restructure its outstanding debt facilities with another fund, Incus Capital Advisers, which will save the company £5.3m by November 2021. 

Launched in 1968 to detail everything the British capital had to offer, the weekly magazine has since then expanded to 328 cities around the world through online listings, events and branded markets. 

The company has furloughed 23% of Time Out Media staff since the start of the coronavirus crisis, laid off hourly paid workers and suspended all print editions globally while temporarily rebranding as Time In.

Even if Time Out's markets do not reopen until December in Lisbon and March in North America, the company expects to have enough working capital up to November next year, assuming it raises at least £45m from the share sale. 

Time Out said it had available cash reserves of about £3.6m as at May 1 and expects to have a monthly cash outflow of about £1.5m while its markets are shut.