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ntl credit rating raised to 'B+'

# 19 March 2004, 17:47 by Frank

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today it raised its long-term corporate credit rating on NTL Inc. (formerly NTL Communications Corp.) to ‘B+’ from ‘D’, following the group’s restructuring. The outlook financially is positive.

At the same time, Standard & Poor’s assigned its ‘BB-’ long-term senior secured rating to the proposed £2.4 billion ($4.4 billion) bank facilities of NTL Investment Holdings Ltd. The rating is one notch above the corporate credit rating, indicating a high expectation of full recovery of principal in the event of a default. In addition, a ‘B-’ long-term rating was assigned to the proposed £800 million senior unsecured notes due 2014 to be issued by NTL Cable PLC. The notes are to be guaranteed on a senior subordinated basis by NTL Investment Holdings.

“The ratings on NTL are constrained by the group’s significant leverage, weak cash generation, and competitive operating environment,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Simon Redmond. “The group benefits, however, from a substantially complete network, a customer base of about three million, and improving operational performance.”

Following completion of the group’s refinancing, ntl will have total debt of £3.0 billion.

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