BTC seeks $781 million in loans

SOFIA (Reuters) – BTC, Bulgaria’s dominant telecoms firm, said yesterday it planned to take out loans for up to -585 million to refinance outstanding debt and boost investments. BTC will ask shareholders on July 27 to agree to the new loans, which it will use to refinance a -350 million loan it took last year and to cover operational and capital expenditures, it said in a filing with the Sofia’s bourse. The company, in which the investment arm of US insurer AIG has agreed to acquire a controlling stake, said it planned to borrow the money from Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, UBS and Unicredit Markets & Investment Banking through Bank Austria. It plans to borrow up to -400 million for eight years to refinance debt, plus take out a -125 million syndicated credit line and a -60 million, seven-year loan to finance acquisitions and capital spending. Icelandic tycoon Thor Bjorgolfsson sold his call option on 65 percent in BTC to AIG Global Investment Group in May for -1.08 billion. The deal is expected to be wrapped up soon. BTC, which has two mobile rivals, has proposed some changes to the supervisory board of the telecoms firm if the change of control is finalized by the time of the general shareholders’ meeting.

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