Creditors Reprieve UPC While Restructuring Continues

04 June 2002

Creditors of Netherlands-headquartered European cable giant United Pan-Europe Communications have extended the suspension of bond interest payments while the debt beset group continues to recapitalize its strained balance sheet.

Due to expire Monday, the waivers were extended by bondholders at the eleventh hour in view of the progress made by UPC in refinancing its debt millstone. The group, which has over seven million subscribers across Europe, has been granted two weeks more in which to complete a €7.5 billion ($6.98bn; £4.80bn) debt-for-equity swap.

UPC’s debts have a dual root – a European buying spree during the media stock bubble of 1999 and 2000; and the high-ticket digitalization of its networks. Its dues aggregate at an eye-watering €11 billion, although the group posted its first top-line profit in May.

Chief among the bondholders is UPC’s American parent United GlobalCom, itself wrapped in the tentacles of John Malone’s investment vehicle Liberty Media.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff