Clock is ticking on Canwest payment


Canadian broadcaster Canwest Global faced fresh bankruptcy- protection concerns Tuesday as it ran up against a late-day deadline to make a missed payment of $30.4 million to U.S. bondholders.

A spokesman for Winnipeg-based Canwest said word on whether the broadcaster will make the interest payment on $761 million in senior notes originally due March 15 was not anticipated until well into the evening.

Failure to make the payment would allow bondholders to demand repayment of the principal.

Ratings agency Moody's on Monday downgraded Canwest on the expectation it would not make the overdue payment Tuesday.

The deadline refocused investor concerns on Canwest's liquidity problems and triggered a Tuesday selloff of its stock, which fell by 2 cents, or 8%, to 23 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

The next debt deadline for the company is Tuesday, when it must cut a deal with senior lenders on new terms for a $300 million credit facility.

Failure to meet its debt obligations could force Canwest to file for bankruptcy protection as it attempts to fend off effects of a deep advertising downturn on its newspaper and TV assets. (partialdiff)