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from Neil Collins:

Toxic asset-maker survives again

Ineos Group, popularly described as Britain’s largest private company, has escaped the hangman’s noose again. For the second time, a sufficient majority of the 230 banks to which it owes 7.5 billion euros have granted it a stay of execution.

  Last month, the 7.875 per cent 2016 bond was trading at 7 per cent of face value, but since then the price has jumped to 28. Its other debt has also risen strongly.

 The business may be a sprawling ragbag of chemical plants which (literally) produce toxic assets like chlorine, but it’s a profitable ragbag, and the new buyers of the debt can afford to take a more pragmatic view of the company’s five-year recovery plan than those banks which have yet to admit they have lost much of their money.

 Ineos was built on debt. Its chairman, Jim Ratcliffe, looks like the commercial equivalent of the home-buyer with the 100 per cent mortgage. Indeed, the terms of the purchase in 2001 of the UK’s only significant chlorine plant in Runcorn, Cheshire, looked more like those 120 per cent mortgages that Northern Rock used to offer.

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