* Deal to be closed in September
* Creditors to write off about 1.0 billion euros debt
* New owners may seek strategic investor in three to five
(Adds CCBank's comment on seeking strategic investor)
By Tsvetelia Tsolova
SOFIA, Aug 7 VTB Capital, a unit of Russia's VTB
Bank, and Bulgarian lender Corporate Commercial Bank
(CCBank) have agreed to take over debt-ridden
Bulgarian telecoms company Vivacom, Vivacom said on
Vivacom, whose debts amount to 1.65 billion euros ($2.1
billion), its creditors and two key investors have agreed on a
restructuring plan which is to be launched later this month. The
deal is expected to be closed in September.
The new owners may seek to sell the troubled telecoms firm
to a trade investor in three to five years once they have put it
back on its feet, the chairman of CCBank, Tsvetan Vasilev, told
business website Livebiz.
"Everything is possible. It is obvious that neither we, nor
VTB or the previous or the current owners are strategic
investors," Vasilev said.
"It is normal to hope that once the company is stabilised,
an investor can expect some capital gain," he told Livebiz.
Debts at Vivacom piled up from a 2007 buyout by AIG,
which sold it on to PinePridge Investments, part of Hong Kong
telecoms and media tycoon Richard Li's business empire.
Vivacom competes in Bulgaria with Telekom Austria's
Mobiltel and Globul, a unit of Greece's OTE,
which is considering its sale.
The latest takeover is subject to certain conditions,
including the approval of the regulatory and competition
authorities, Vivacom said.
Under the plan VTB Bank and CCBank offered to pay 130
million euros in cash to the senior lenders for a majority of
the equity, with 588 million euros of reinstated loans and a
minority of the equity to be allocated to senior secured
lenders, Vivacom has said.
Lenders include Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche
Bank, UBS, Unicredit Group, HSH
Nordbank among others who will have to write off about one
billion euros in debt.
They can also choose to exit their loan positions in
Vivacom and if all creditors choose to do so the investors will
pay them a total of 617 million euros.
The acquisition price will depend on the extent of the
take-up on the cash exit option and is estimated to be in the
range of 0.81 levs to 1,92 levs per share, valuing the company
at between 230 million and 550 million levs ($146-349 million).
The deal covers 93.99 percent of Vivacom. The rest is
floated on the Bulgarian stock exchange. The investors said they
will launch a tender offer for the remaining shares once the
deal is completed.
In a separate statement CCBank said it plans to acquire less
than 10 percent of the telecoms firm that has an 80 percent
share of the fixed line telecoms market and 18 percent of the
($1=1.5756 Bulgarian levs)
(Editing by Greg Mahlich)