Moody’s downgrades Canwest

Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Canwest Media Inc., a key part of Canwest Global Communications Corp. (TSX:CGS), and said it’s unlikely it will repay $30.4 million of interest due on Tuesday.

TORONTO — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Canwest Media Inc., a key part of Canwest Global Communications Corp. (TSX:CGS), and said it’s unlikely it will repay $30.4 million of interest due on Tuesday.

The Winnipeg-based media company is heading towards its latest deadline to make the overdue note payment to bondholders, who hold US$761 million in debt — about one-fifth Canwest’s total debt.

The company also has an extended April 21 deadline from the secured lenders, who could demand immediate repayment.

Bill Wolfe, senior credit officer at Moody’s, said he doesn’t think anybody expects Canwest to make the $30.4-million interest payment this week.

“The bank lenders and the debenture holders basically have a deadline that goes to (April) 21st,” he said.

“I think that’s an acknowledgment that there won’t be an interest payment (on Tuesday) . . . nobody should be looking for a cheque in the mail.”

Canwest has received several extensions on its repayment deadlines partly because it has shown lenders that it’s struggling to sell off non-core assets in a difficult environment.

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