Elektrim To Restructure Half Billion Dollars Of Debt

Elektrim has reached an agreement with about half of its bondholders to restructure 479 million euros ($438 million) of bonds as the phone and power company tries to avoid Poland's biggest bankruptcy since the end of communist rule. Shares in the company that was once Poland's second largest phone operator, rose as much as twenty two percent on the positive news. The accord calls for Elektrim to make an initial 200 million-euro payment by June 15th and repay all of its debts by July 25th, 2005, the company said in a statement to the Warsaw Stock Exchange. Elektrim defaulted on the bonds in December after income from its phone units failed to meet the projections that were set in more optimistic times. The company expanded its phone business in the late 1990s, shifting its focus away from holdings such as electrical cables and chicken farms. Elektrim sold control of its phone unit to Vivendi Universal last year and plans to sell more communications assets to repay creditors. The agreement “will allow the company to avert bankruptcy while allowing bondholders to get a full recovery on their claims with an adequate compensation for the delay in repayment,” said Gordon Singer, a spokesman for bondholders and a portfolio manager at Elliott Associates LP in London.

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