August 9, 2018 / 10:20 PM / a month ago

American Tower feud 'not positive' for Mexico's TV Azteca, Fitch says

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Credit ratings agency Fitch voiced concerns on Thursday that TV Azteca’s legal battle with American Tower Corp was “not positive or favorable” for the Mexican broadcaster’s credit profile, two days after Reuters reported the lawsuit.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of broadcaster TV Azteca is seen outside its headquarters in Mexico City, Mexico February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo

MATC Infraestructura, a unit of cell tower owner and operator American Tower (AMT.N), sued TV Azteca (AZTECACPO.MX) for nearly $97 million in a New York state court, saying the company has defaulted on a loan.

In an interview, Alberto Moreno, a senior director at Fitch, said the agency will likely evaluate what the case means for TV Azteca’s credit rating.

“Our sense is obviously this is not favorable or positive for the credit profile of the company,” he said. “We will continue monitoring.”

A spokesman for TV Azteca declined to comment.

The broadcaster did not confirm or deny having defaulted on the loan from American Tower in court papers, but argued it had not been served properly.

In April, Fitch upgraded TV Azteca’s outlook to “positive” from “stable,” noting that the company had reduced its net debt by 23 percent in 2017.

The market has viewed the dispute in New York as part of an ongoing negotiation between TV Azteca and American Tower, Moreno said.

“They (TV Azteca) have enough liquidity and enough access to financing in order to cover their obligations,” he said.

Reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Phil Berlowitz

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