RLPC: Alcatel-Lucent nearing 1B-plus euro refi

NEW YORK Tue Dec 4, 2012 1:41pm EST

NEW YORK Dec 4 (Reuters) - Telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent SA is close to inking an over 1 billion euro refinancing to address upcoming maturities and back the company's turnaround, banking sources told Thomson Reuters LPC.

Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse will be leading the transaction, with other banks including JP Morgan, Citi as well as French banks joining the deal.

The financing, expected to be all loans, will be syndicated in the U.S. given the size and appetite of the institutional market and the company's operational foothold in North America.

"Institutional investors love a good loan-to-value story," said a U.S. banker following the transaction.

On November 15, Reuters reported the company said at a Morgan Stanley conference that it was looking at options including asset-backed financing to strengthen its balance sheet.

"[There are] three options, four options," said Chief Financial Officer Paul Tufano at the investment bank's Technology, Media and Telecoms conference. "We are doing the research that it will provide the ability to take the liquidity issue off the table. Specifics are actively being worked out right now."

Tufano said the company was looking at measures with regard in particular to convertible debt due in 2015.

In early November, Alcatel also said the company could sell assets to strengthen its balance sheet after posting a second straight quarterly loss. The company faces about 2.2 billion euros in debt repayments through the end of 2015, with a major deadline on Jan. 1, 2015, according to Reuters. (Editing By Jon Methven)