The cable television company Matav Cable Systems (Nasdaq:MATV) is in advanced negotiations to extend its credit line from the banks by 18 months, TheMarker has learned.

Matav is negotiating on its own behalf, although it is slated to merge with Israel's other two cable companies in early 2003. As financing will be renegotiated at that time, Matav's talks with banks Leumi and First International Bank of Israel are focusing on short-term financing only.

Leumi is the main creditor, having lent Matav NIS 300 million. Altogether Matav owes the banks some NIS 650 million, and owes the public another NIS 165 million through bonds.

Matav is hardly strapped for cash, considering that it just made an NIS 180 million capital gain from selling shares in the Partner mobile phone company to Partner's controlling shareholder, the Hong Kong firm Hutchison Whampoa.

Matav shares rose 5.5% on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Wednesday morning on turnover of NIS 1.2 million, way beyond its average.