May 20, 2020 / 1:51 PM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa mobile operator Cell C finalises recapitalisation plan

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JOHANNESBURG, May 20 (Reuters) - South Africa mobile operator Cell C said on Wednesday it had finalised a recapitalisation plan, which has been sent to the Competition Commission for approval.

The country’s third-largest telecoms company, which is majority owned by Blue Label Telecoms, defaulted on a series of debt payments earlier this year having underperformed in a highly competitive market dominated by MTN and Vodacom.

Under new Chief Executive Douglas Craigie Stevenson, Cell C is hoping to boost its balance sheet and improve revenue by finalising the recapitalisation plan, cutting costs and minimising operating expenses where possible.

“As it is a matter before a regulator and a decision has not yet been made, we cannot comment until the recapitalisation transaction has been successfully concluded,” the firm said in response to questions about the details of the plan. Upon finalisation of the deal, the Buffet Consortium will become a minority shareholder in Cell C.

The company’s debt stood at 8.7 billion rand ($484.02 million) in the year to end-December 2019, its most recent financial statements show. ($1 = 17.9743 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Jon Boyle, Kirsten Donovan)

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