Shareholders of Bulgaria’s debt-ridden incumbent telco Vivacom have agreed a debt-swap plan which will see two financial institutions take a combined 73% stake. Russian bank VTB and the Bulgarian Corporate Commercial Bank (CCBank) will purchase 73% of the company from Hong Kong-backed PineBridge Investments and reduce its debt to EUR588 million (USD757 million) with a cash injection of EUR130 million. Senior lenders to the debt-burdened telco – including Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank and European Investment Bank – will take a 21% stake in exchange for writing down their debt claims by around EUR1 billion. The remaining 6% stake will be floated on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange. According to a report from local news source Novinite, the deal will be completed ‘soon’. Vivacom, which was formerly known as BTC, is the dominant wireline operator in Bulgaria and is also the country’s third largest cellular operator behind Telekom Austria unit M-Tel and OTE-backed Globul.
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