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Altice moves to ease debt burden

AlticeCable and telecoms group Altice has secured two loans from amounting to just over US$3.8 billion to refinance its existing debt.

The company, which owns SFR in France as well as asset including Portugal Telecom, US cable operators Cablevision and Suddenlink and Hot in Israel, said it had successfully priced a US$2.5 billion eight year loan and a US$1.31 billion 10.5-year bond.

The two loans mean that the total debt of Altice’s finance vehicle Optimum will be refinanced, with the average debt maturity extended from 5.9 years to 6.6 years, strengthening its liquidity profile.

The latest move means that the Altice Group has, in total, refinanced an estimated US$17.7 billion in debt since January. The group has a total debt burden of about €49 billion, or about 5.4 times EBITDA, according to French financial daily Les Echos.

Altice’s recent move to take full control of French subsidiary SFR would give it greater access to the French service provider’s dividends – to the tune of an additional €558 million, according to Les Echos – that are currently allocated to minority shareholders.

Dennis Okhuijsen, CFO of Altice Group, said: “Following the successful completion of the Cablevision acquisition, this transaction again demonstrates Altice’s commitment to proactively manage its liabilities across every credit pool, further improving its maturity schedule as well as reducing interest costs. We are particularly pleased the capital market is supporting both Altice USA and Altice Europe and remain very excited about all of our opportunities to invest and grow in these markets.”