CANTV may default on debt

7 Aug 2003

Venezuela’s largest fixed line telco, National Telefonos de Venezuela (CANTV) has said that is considering defaulting on some of its USD230 million international debt, after it revealed that it did not expect to receive dollars from the government to make payments. The company said that access to foreign exchange is still severely restricted, and it did not expect to meet its USD19.4 million payment due at the end of this year without defaulting. CANTV has announced a loss of VEB22.6 billion (USD14.1 million) for the second quarter of 2002, a fall which the company attributed to the country’s poor economy. Revenues stood at VEB720 billion at the end of June, down 8% year-on-year, while operating expenses increased 3.6% to VEB734 billion. Subscriber figures also showed a negative trend with the number of fixed line customers flat at 2.67 million and mobile subscribers down 2.4% at 2.45 million. ADSL customers, on the other hand, more than doubled to 60,000.