Cell C asks for debt extension

South African mobile operator Cell C says it will ask bondholders for permission to extend the maturity of 77.4 million euros worth (R1.1 billion) of its senior debt by three years.

The company also said it would offer to purchase for cash the outstanding principal amount on all of the outstanding notes from bondholders.

A spokeswoman for Cell C declined to comment.

In May, Cell C CEO, Jose Dos Santos, said that the group’s total revenue increased 14% year on year, with subscribers up 35% YoY to the end of December, 2013.

To support this continued growth, Cell C has budgeted R2.3 billion for capex spend in 2014.

In 2013, the group received an injection of R5.7 billion from Oger Telecom, the Lebanese-controlled firm with an indirect 75% holding in the SA operator, and other stakeholders.

Oger invested $350-million (around R3.5 billion) and key lenders “including Nedbank and the Development Bank of South Africa” provided R2.2 billion.

Former CEO Alan Knott-Craig warned at the time, though, that the group’s coffers may stop investing under the current regulatory framework.

“Essentially it goes around MTRs (mobile termination rates)…and the second thing is symmetry,” he said.

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Cell C asks for debt extension