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Hellenic Telecom Extends Credit Line as Debt Cut to $3.8 Billion

Hellenic Telecommunications Organization SA extended a 500 million-euro ($636 million) credit line by a year as Greece’s largest phone operator seeks to refinance maturing facilities and cut debt.

The company, also known as OTE, will repay 400 million euros of a 900 million-euro revolving credit facility on maturity in February 2013 and extend the remainder to February 2014, it said today in a statement, released on the same day as its third-quarter earnings.

“We are making rapid progress with our refinancing plans” and are “confident that all components will be in place on schedule by the end of of the first quarter of 2013,” Michael Tsamaz, chief executive and chairman of the Athens-based company known as OTE said in the earnings report.

The revolving credit facility, a type of loan where money repaid can be borrowed again, was undrawn at July 30, the company said Sept. 3.

Net debt at OTE has been cut by more than 1 billion euros in the last year to 3 billion euros supported by improving cash flows, according to the earnings report. Free cash flow was 249 million euros in the third quarter of 2012, compared with 148 million euros in the same quarter the previous year, it said.

OTE, 40 percent owned by Deutsche Telekom AG, also has 3.2 billion euros of bonds outstanding, according to today’s earnings report. These include a 1.25 billion-euro bond due to repay in August 2013.

The refinancing plans also involve raising funds from the sale of OTE’s Globul mobile unit in Bulgaria and Hellas Sat SA, Timotheus Hoettges, Deutsche Telekom chief financial officer, said yesterday in a conference call. The Greek company could raise around 1 billion euros from the sales, Euro2day reported in September.

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