Retail and pharmaceuticals giant Alliance Boots is preparing to extend the maturity dates on existing loan facilities to facilitate its likely full merger with US drugstore powerhouse Walgreens.

Alliance Boots, which revealed a tie-up Walgreens in June, has appointed Deutsche Bank, UniCredit and KKR Capital Markets to arrange the change.

At present, the facilities are scheduled to mature shortly before August 2015 when the two companies are expected to merge fully.

The extended loan facilities will mean they will mature after that date and will have staggered maturities starting in 2016.

Alliance Boots, which has total net borrowings of £7bn, declined to disclose the value of the loan facilities.

The group’s largest lenders, believed to include Deutsche Bank and Unicredit, have agreed to extend current loan facilities in full.

The extension is expected to be finalised before the end of 2012.

Alliance Boots group finance director George Fairweather said:  “Extending loans from key lenders at attractive rates, more than two and a half years before the majority mature, is in line with Alliance Boots’ policy of prudent and active capital management.

“Our ongoing strong financial performance, which our lenders recognise through their strong support for Alliance Boots, will enable us to further invest for the future while at the same time continuing to reduce net borrowings.”