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Cablecom faces difficult times

Cablecom shed 12.5 per cent of its staff last October Keystone Archive

Switzerland's leading cable television operator, Cablecom, has admitted it is in financial difficulty, but says its future is not in doubt.

The director of Cablecom, Rudolf Fischer, made the comments on Sunday, after the international credit ratings agency, Moody’s, downgraded the company’s bank facility rating on Friday to Caa2 from B3.

Fischer said the company would have to apply for deferred payment if the banks didn’t guarantee SFr 3.5 billion of credit by the end of April.

However, he said he was optimistic that the subsidiary of Britain’s NTL Inc will be able to keep its head above water.

“It’s true that some subsidiaries were heavily in debt at the end of 2001,” he said. “But the problems were resolved through refinancing.

“We’re confident the banks will give us the green light.”

He also admitted that Cablecom had failed to meet some of the refinancing conditions the banks had set during the first quarter of this year. But he claimed this was because of technical problems and not missed interest payments.

Fischer added that he had thought Cablecom would not be hit by the restructuring going on within NTL.

In October last year Cablecom denied that it was in any financial difficulty when it announced that it was shedding 12.5 per cent of its staff.

Swisscom, Germany’s Siemens and Veba sold Cablecom to NTL in December 1999 in a deal that valued the cable operator at SFr5.8 billion

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR