PRAGUE, July 10 (Reuters) - Broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (CME) will sell its Croatian and Slovenian operations to United Group’s Slovenia Broadband for 230 million euros ($262.18 million) to pay down debt.
CME expects the sale to close by the end of the year and proceeds will go to repay a 250.8 million euro loan due in 2018, it said in a statement on Monday. That repayment will cut CME’s average borrowing cost by 275 basis points to 4.5 percent.
“This transaction underscores the enduring attractiveness of broadcasters in the region. It also moves us significantly closer to our long-held goal of establishing a more appropriate leverage profile for our operations,” CME co-Chief Executive Michael Del Nin said in the statement.
CME is active in six central and eastern European markets, with the Czech Republic and Romania being its biggest profit drivers.
With earnings rising in recent years, it has been pushing to pay down around $1 billion outstanding debt left over from various missteps before and after the global financial crisis nearly a decade ago. ($1 = 0.8773 euros) (Reporting by Jason Hovet, editing by Louise Heavens)