Saturday 16 December 2017

Eir given ratings boosts by agencies

Eir chief financial officer Huib Costermans welcomed the upgrades
Eir chief financial officer Huib Costermans welcomed the upgrades
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Eir has received upgrades from its three ratings agencies - S&P, Moody's and Fitch. The company said the upgrades reflect its improved operational and financial performance.

Eir chief financial officer Huib Costermans welcomed the upgrades, which come after the former State-owned telco underwent a financial re-engineering last year.

In June, it issued a €500m bond, helping it to retire more expensive debt and saving it €17m a year in interest. Later that month it issued an additional €200m of bonds.

In October, Eir got agreement from lenders to cut the interest rate on €1.6bn of debt to 4pc from 4.5pc, saving it over €8m a year in interest payments.

"It is the latest proof point in the transformation of our business and improvement of our balance sheet, and reflects the rating agencies' expectations that Eir will continue its successful business transformation," said Mr Costermans of the ratings upgrades.

"We remain focused on our strategic network investment, together with our bundling and convergence strategies," he added.

Standard & Poor's upgraded Eir's corporate credit rating from B to B+, while Moody's raised its from B2 to B1. Fitch raised its rating on Eir to B+ from B.

In 2012, Eir entered what was Ireland's biggest ever examinership. It exited, slashing its debt and handing control to lenders.

In October, one of Eir's then biggest shareholders, US hedge fund York Capital, sold its almost 10pc stake in the telco. That resulted in Eir's biggest shareholder, Anchorage Capital, gaining sole voting control.

Irish Independent

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