Accompanied by a flurry of favourable articles in the national press, Virgin Media is now seemingly well on the road to recovery, having completed a major three year refinancing programme.
In a statement the cablenet said the programme had fundamentally changed the capital structure of its business and provided greater flexibility and scope for the use of any surplus future cash flow.
The company has transformed its debt mix from predominantly near-term bank debt to longer-term bond debt that has been secured at more favourable rates. Amendments were made to senior credit facilities in October 2008 and again in October 2009. Virgin Media has today closed a new £1.9 billion bank facility.
When £178 million of senior notes due 2014 are redeemed next month, Virgin Media will have repaid approximately £815 million using cash flow generated by the business.
“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,” said Virgin CFO Eamonn O’Hare. “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”.
In addition to the rollout of DOCSIS 3-enabled broadband, providing customers with speeds of 200 Mbps in the medium term, Virgin is for the first time talking of expanding its network.