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Spark beefs up funding with new $100 mln banking facility

Spark beefs up funding with new $100 mln banking facility

By Paul McBeth

Sept. 17 (BusinessDesk) - Spark New Zealand, the country's biggest telecommunications provider, has beefed up its funding lines with a new $100 million facility with Westpac New Zealand, which it will use for general business.

The Auckland-based company, formerly known as Telecom Corp, established the committed revolving facility which will mature in November next year, it said in a statement. Spark had a near-identical facility with Westpac until March, when it decided it didn't need it, a spokesman said.

"The proceeds of the facility will be used for general corporate purposes," Spark said.

The company has a committed standby facility of $200 million with a number of banks, and as at June 30, had fully drawn down a $100 million unsecured variable bank facility with the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, which matures in March 2018, according to its 2015 financial statements.

Spark scaled back plans for capital expenditure in the current year to about $380 million from the $576 million it spent in the year ended June 30, which included a $158 million price tag for extra 700 megahertz radio spectrum.

The company lifted its operational cash flow 2.6 percent to $630 million, though the increased investment activity and debt repayment led to a total cash outflow of $128 million in the year. Net debt was $630 million as at June 30, up from $515 million a year earlier.

Spark's board declared a bigger dividend payment than expected for the 2015 year, with the final 11 cents per share return paid next week, and signalled plans for a special dividend in 2016.

The shares fell 1.2 percent to $3.195, and have gained 3.9 percent this year.


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