Alestra to receive cash injection on completion of restructuring

22 Jan 2003

Mexican long-distance and international telephony provider Alestra is set to receive USD80 million in funding from its shareholders Onexa – a 50:50 joint venture between Alfa Group and BBVA Bancomer – and AT&T, provided it completes a USD570 million debt restructuring. In order to receive the cash injection, Alestra bondholders must approve the restructuring plan, which is currently awaiting authorisation from the US and Mexican securities regulators; the telco expects to gain regulatory consent in a matter of days, enabling it to submit the plan to bondholders for a decision by the end of January. The proposed restructuring is in two parts: a tender offer for the repurchase of current papers at a discounted price; and a paper-for-paper exchange, with the new paper offering lower interest rates and longer maturity. The restructuring will affect Alestra’s USD270 million in 12.1% eurobonds and USD300 million in 12.6% eurobonds, which mature in 2006 and 2009 respectively. The two bonds collectively account for USD570 million of the company’s USD600 million debt. Alestra defaulted on coupon payments for the bonds late last year after a USD25 million bank loan payment left it short of cash. The shareholder pledge to inject capital suggests that AT&T is committed to its Mexican subsidiary, despite rumours to the contrary stemming from the US giant’s recent withdrawal from its AT&T Latin America venture.