Virgin Media Issuing $1 Billion In Bonds To Refinance Fibre Debt

After laying down its costly cable broadband network upgrade, Neil Berkett’s Virgin Media is going to the capital markets for financing for the fourth time in nine months.

It plans to issue $1 billion (£620 million) in secured bonds to help refinance its heavy £4 billion in debt – picked up, in part, through upgrading its infrastructure to offer 50Mbps and, soon, 100Mbps, to take on rivals like Sky.

The cable operator will be raising the money in a private placing through its subsidiary, Virgin Media (NSDQ: VMED) Secured Finance, it announced. This current $1 billion comes on the heels of three bond issues last year for $1 billion in May, $600 million in June and £715 million in November.

The company is listed primarily on the U.S. Nasdaq exchange but it also added a listing on the London Stock Exchange in November last year to boost its profile among UK and European investors. In keeping with that strategy, it plans to offer the bonds in dollars, pounds and euros, writes Bloomberg (via BusinessWeek).

Currently Virgin Media gives digital subscribers the fullest VOD service of any provider in the UK, offering such content as BBC’s iPlayer. It offers a 20Mbps link to 13 percent of its footprint.

In the last quarterly earnings, the company said its VOD views were up to an average of 33 per month, and were now being used by 55 percent of TV subscribers.

“Sticky” services like VOD are playing a central role in its drive to grow revenues: CEO Berkett says the operator’s focus remains on “high value customers, who buy more from us and stay with us longer.”