Richard Li Seeks to Cut Bulgaria Telecom Debt - Report

Business | July 6, 2010, Tuesday // 11:45|  views

Telecom and media tycoon Richard Li. Photo by

Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li is holding talks with large US and European banks and US companies to restructure EUR 800 M of debts owed by Bulgarian phone company Vivacom AD, according to local media reports.

The funds were borrowed two years ago by Vivacom’s previous owner American International Group Inc. to acquire the company from Icelandic billionaire Thor Bjorgolfsson, the Standart daily said, citing unidentified persons.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Deutsche Bank AG and US companies are among the creditors with whom Li is negotiating, the newspaper said.

Li, chairman of Asian telco PCCW, inherited control of Vivacom in March as part of the acquisition of AIG Investments, a unit of the troubled US insurance group which spans asset management and private equity investments. The unit was renamed Pinebridge Investments ahead of the takeover by Li's Pacific Century group.

US insurance giant AIG bought 90% of the company's shares in August 2007 for EUR 1,4 B, later launching an offer to buy out the remaining shares.

Vivacom dominates the fixed-line segment with 2.9 million phone lines, which accounts for 97% of the market, but it has been losing customers at an alarming rate in recent years, due to the spread of mobile communications and alternative telecoms in the country.

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Tags: Li, US companies, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Richard Li, Vivacom, BTC, AIG


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