Swindon-based WH Smith, hit by a substantial downturn in economic activity resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, has secured new lending facilities of £120m, which will strengthen its balance sheet, working capital and liquidity position.

However, the new financing arrangements are conditional on raising new equity and the group is therefore in an advanced stage of preparation for an equity issue of a maximum of 13.7% of its issued share capital by way of a placing.

“These financing arrangements, coupled with a broad range of mitigating actions to manage the cost base and cash-flow, will provide sufficient liquidity to deal with this most challenging of trading environments,” the company said.