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Otelco Inc. (NASDAQ: OTT) (TSX: OTT.un), a wireline telecommunication services provider in Alabama, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Vermont and West Virginia, today announced a restructuring transaction, which will strengthen the Company by deleveraging its balance sheet and reducing its overall indebtedness by approximately $135 million. Otelco has reached an agreement with its senior lenders to amend and extend the terms of its current senior financing through April 2016. In addition, our IDS units will be cancelled and the existing senior subordinated debt will be converted into equity. The vast bulk of our subordinated debt is held in the IDS units, and, as such, our IDS unit holders will continue to be significant shareholders of the Company as they are today. These efforts will better position the Company to compete in the 21
st century telecommunications marketplace, solve the near-term maturity of the Company’s senior secured financing, and significantly reduce the Company’s debt burden. The Company currently has over $32 million in cash and sufficient liquidity to consummate this transaction.
In April 2012, Otelco announced the loss of a material contract to provide services to Time Warner Cable (TWC). The Time Warner contract expired on December 31, 2012 and TWC elected to begin performing services in-house rather than renewing the contract with Otelco. In addition to the loss of the TWC contract, recent rulings by the FCC will also continue to negatively impact the Company’s revenues. After consulting with advisors, the Board of Directors and senior management have concluded that reducing the Company’s debt and improving its capital structure will be best implemented through a “pre-packaged” chapter 11 filing, which has the support of the Company’s senior lenders.
Before making its chapter 11 filing, Otelco will seek the support of holders of record on February 8, 2013, of its senior subordinated notes (including notes held in the form of IDSs) for the proposed plan through a solicitation process that will occur in February, 2013. The voting process will take approximately 35 days. After that period, Otelco intends to voluntarily file its reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.