Johnston gets debt breathing space

THE owner of The Scotsman Publications has been given a two-month extension as it bids to confront its current levels of debt.

Edinburgh-based Johnston Press is understood to be addressing loans of £448 million, held by a consortium of financial institutions.

With certain covenants due today, the publisher announced yesterday that it had negotiated to defer the debt until August 31, “pending the outcome of its discussions with its lenders”.

Talks will continue as Johnston, which owns a number of newspapers around the UK, including The Yorkshire Post, battles against the downturn in advertising.

The Scotsman and sister title, Scotland on Sunday, are in the process of merging their editorial operations, as part of a cost-saving drive.