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Qwest could default on debts

A default would probably cause credit-rating agencies to downgrade the carrier's debt and make it more expensive for the company to raise capital.

Qwest Communications International could go into default on its debts by the second quarter of this year if it does not cut its costs and debt, according to a Monday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A default would probably cause credit-rating agencies to downgrade the carrier's debt and make it more expensive for the company to raise capital.

Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service downgraded Qwest's credit rating last month after the company said it would use its $4 billion credit line to pay off its commercial paper debt.

Since that announcement, Qwest's finances have sparked concern on Wall Street, prompting Qwest to hold conference calls to discuss its situation with investors.

Qwest's CEO, Joe Nacchio, said on a call Friday that the company is still in talks with its lenders to renegotiate a new credit line, and that he remains confident that an agreement can be reached soon.

The Denver-based company previously stated that it is considering other measures to raise cash, such as offering securities as well as the sale of non-core assets like wireless networks, phone directories, last mile access lines and its application service provider business.

The company also has some flexibility with its capital expenditure budget. Qwest set aside $3.7 billion to spend on capital expenditure this year, but the company said that it can choose to not grow its business and only spend between $1.5 and $2 billion to just maintain its networks.