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Debt revamp done, UPC back in black

Co. announced an 85% rise in earnings before interest

AMSTERDAM — United Pan-Europe Communications (UPC) has announced that it will complete its yearlong debt restructuring by the end of the month. In the half-year earnings report, company also revealed a swing to profit of E121.5 million ($136.9 million) from last year’s loss of $1.6 billion.

Restructuring, which will pull Europe’s largest cable TV company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, has been held up for more than a year by InterComm Holdings, a small creditor that’s taken its complaints about the restructuring all the way to the Dutch Supreme Court.

The hearing will be held Aug. 26, and the decision is expected to be in UPC’s favor, following the Dutch Attorney General’s Office recent advice to the court that the appeal had no merit.

Restructuring, approved by bondholders and U.S. courts, will eliminate two-thirds of a $11.7 billion debt incurred when UPC bought up cable companies across Europe several years ago.

2% rise in revs

The cable outfit reported a 2% year-on-year rise in revenues in its first half to $809.8 million. UPC also announced an 85% rise in earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization.

Company will change its name to UGC Europe after the debt refinancing is completed. UPC parent company is UnitedGlobalCom, controlled by John Malone’s Liberty Media.

UPC will reorganize into two divisions: UPC Broadband will house residential video, telephone and Internet services, while Chello Media will encompass the Media, Priority Telecom and Investments division.