Qwest

(Q)

plans to file a $2.5 billion shelf registration with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

covering debt and equity securities. The local telephone company said it will issue no more than $1.25 billion in equity or convertible securities at an as-yet-undetermined time.

The company filed the registration in order to strengthen its balance sheet and achieve debt reduction goals.

"We said last week that we are committed to the health of our balance sheet and would take steps to reduce debt by $1.5 to $2 billion," said Joseph P. Nacchio, Qwest's chairman, in a statement. "This filing is the first step. We are still looking at other alternatives, including a combination of asset sales or sales of securities associated with assets, and will fully disclose any transactions we decide to pursue."

Shares of Qwest closed at $8.96 Monday.