Qwest considers paying off more debt
Rocky Wire Reports
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Denver-based Qwest Communications International Inc., the
third-largest local phone company, may pay off more debt instead
of refinancing it because of "shaky" credit markets, Chief
Executive Officer Edward Mueller said.
"The markets (Wednesday) will make us have to evaluate any
debt," Mueller said Wednesday at a conference in New York. "We're really comfortable
with our cash flow, and being that comfortable gives us a lot of
flexibility here to make sure we do what's right for the long
Qwest had about $14 billion in debt as of last quarter.
Borrowing costs have surged since the breakdown of the subprime
mortgage market last year, which triggered more than $500
billion in credit losses and asset writedowns for banks and led
to the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. this week.
Mueller appointed Joseph Euteneuer this week to oversee the
company's finances. Profit dropped 24 percent last quarter
and Qwest lowered its forecast after losing phone customers to
wireless carriers and digital phone service from cable
Qwest also will be more "conservative" in pursuing acquisitions,
Mueller said Wednesday. A company would have to be a
"powerful, compelling" target for Qwest to consider raising
funds, he said.