Business Irish

Monday 19 February 2018

Eircom has no plans to take out any cash

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Eircom owners have no plans to take cash out of the business by issuing new debt, even if the telecom company is able to raise finance on the bond markets later this year.

A spokesman for Eircom declined to comment on media speculation that the company is eyeing a return to the bond markets just months after writing off 40pc of its debts in the country's biggest ever examinership.

However, sources close to Eircom's 200-strong group of owners ruled out raising cash on the markets to fund a payout, but did not rule out a bond deal.

Proceeds of any new financing deal will be targeted at investing in the company's infrastructure network, currently undergoing a €400m upgrade, they said.

It follows reports that Goldman Sachs has been hired by Eircom with a view to arranging a €500m issue of high-yield bonds later this year.

Global debt investors have snapped up 38pc more bonds linked to telecoms companies so far this year than at the same time in 2012.

Analysts say Eircom could struggle to raise debt at an attractive price, even in such a buoyant market. That is in large part after previous bondholders were "burned" when they lost €1.5bn owed by the company only last year.

Eircom still has a high level of debt, with €2.3bn owed to the same 200 funds and banks that own the company.

However, the remaining loans are attractively priced compared with what might be available in the markets. Last week a €43m slice of Eircom's post-restructuring debt was auctioned in the loans market and is believed to have sold for 86pc of face value.

Irish Independent

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