MADRID — Shareholders at Spain’s main pay TV operator, Sogecable, have underwritten a £185.0 million ($224.2 million) share issue.
The capital increase is aimed at reducing financial costs. It redeems a $181.8 million shareholders’ loan, made by Sogecable’s principal shareholders — Telefonica (23.8%), Prisa (23.7%) and Vivendi (12.4%) — to cover the costs of Sogecable’s merger with satcaster rival Via Digital in 2003. The loan carried an 11% interest charge.
The issue comes as Sogecable prepares to launch a new analog nationwide channel, Spain’s first in 15 years, converting analog pay TV service Canal Plus Spain into a totally free-to-air channel.
Sogecable is offering special offers to Canal Plus Espana’s remaining 393,319 analog subscribers in March 2005 to migrate to Sogecable’s digital TV platform, Digital Plus.
The launch could have been made without the debt service, say analysts.