Virgin Media, which offers a 'quad-play' combination of broadband, TV, fixed-line phone and mobile services in the UK, has completed a three-year refinancing programme. It says this has fundamentally changed the capital structure of its business, providing greater flexibility and scope for the use of any surplus future cash flow.
Over the past three years, Virgin Media has worked with its lenders to significantly change its debt mix from predominantly near-term bank debt to predominantly longer-term bond debt at attractive financing costs. During this period the company has issued $1 billion of convertible notes, £1.7 billion of senior unsecured notes and £1.5 billion of senior secured notes. It also successfully amended its senior credit facilities in October 2008 and again in October 2009 to improve repayment options and flexibility and today closed a new £1.9 billion bank facility.
Virgin Media says it now has a capital structure that will allow it greater focus on its operational plans and flexibility around the future use of cash flow, as well as driving top-line growth.
Eamonn O’Hare, Virgin Media’s chief financial officer, said, "Our focus has been to steer the business into a position where we have a long-term, fit-for-purpose capital structure that supports our ambitions. The completion of this process is a major achievement, particularly in light of the market conditions over much of the last three years. In order to overcome those issues in the credit markets, we have been innovative and proactive in our efforts to substantially reduce our refinancing risk."