Truvo USA, the holding company that owns the European directory publisher Truvo, has filed for bankruptcy protection, with plans to hand over the company to its senior creditors. Truvo’s European-based operating companies did not file for bankruptcy protection.
Truvo operates in Belgium, Ireland and Portugal, and it recently divested its small Romanian operation. These markets are either heavily exposed to large metro markets, suffer from exceptionally poor economic conditions or both.
Truvo has been struggling to keep pace with a rapid shift from traditional to digital revenues that led to a nearly 28 percent decline in group print revenues in 2009, compared with a 12.1 percent online growth rate. The company has been aggressively innovating around a shift to multiproduct sales, including retraining its entire 1,700-person sales force, and has been very upfront in its view that the print Yellow Pages business is no longer viable in its markets, thus the need to innovation quickly and reinvent itself as a local search company. Truvo has most recently announced a deal with TomTom to include Truvo’s directory content on the TomTom navigation devices.
Truvo signaled a dramatic financial move may be imminent when it announced on June 1 that it would not make a scheduled interested payment on its senior debt.
According to news reports, Truvo plans to reorganize and then hand over the company to the holders of its more than 1 billion euros worth of senior loans.
Truvo is not alone in seeking the avenue of bankruptcy protection. Both Idearc and R.H. Donnelley followed that path, both emerging within a year with clean balance sheets and new names, SuperMedia and DexOne respectively.