Reuters has raised almost EUR71 million through the sale of its French credit and legal data division, ORT SAS, to Paris-based credit insurance firm Coface.
Reuters will receive an initial cash payment of EUR46.6 million for the unit, having already taken EUR25 million from Coface ahead of the sale. The vendor may also receive a further EUR1 million after completion, depending on ORT's final net equity value.
Reuters says it will use the proceeds from the sale to pay down debt. The transactions is part of Reuters Fast Forward plan to divest non-core businesses.
ORT supplies credit evaluations of French and Belgian firms and currently employs 430 staff. The firm's clients include government agencies in France, Belgium and the UK.
The company's profits before tax and extraordinary items for the year ended 31 December 2003 was EUR6.7 million. Its net assets for the period were €16.2 million, including more than €10 million cash, which remains in ORT at completion.
The business will be renamed Coface ORT following completion of the sale.