Virgin Media has completed a three-year refinance programme as part of a plan to change the capital structure of its business to provide greater flexibility and scope to use any surplus future cash flow.
Over the last three years, the UK cable operator has issued US$1bn (747m) of convertible notes, Â£1.7bn (Â2bn) of senior unsecured notes and Â£1.5bn 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. Today it closed a new Â£1.9bn bank facility.
Virgin Media pointed out that in January 2007, it had debt repayments of Â£4.8bn due within five years, to the end of 2012. Today that figure has been reduced to Â£325m before 2013, with no single payment over Â£200m due in any year until 2015 and the average maturity now up to 6.8 years.
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.Â