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NYSE Suspends Trading in PSNH Stock

December 09, 1987|Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — The New York Stock Exchange today suspended trading in Public Service Co. of New Hampshire stock after a major creditor demanded that the ailing utility pay off a multi-million dollar debt.

The demand came from Midlantic National Bank of Edison, N.J., which asked for repayment of $425 million due to holders of the utility's unsecured bonds due in the year 2004.

The bank, which is the sole trustee for the unsecured bonds, said it made the request because the utility failed to pay $37 million in interest on debentures due on Oct 15. Under terms of the loan agreement, creditors may demand payment of principal and interest 30 days after any interest payment is skipped.

Midlantic spokesman Charles Ward would not comment on whether the bank would launch involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against PSNH.

PSNH spokesman Nicholas Ashooh said the utility would not seek voluntary bankruptcy protection because of Midlantic's move. He said the utility will continue to seek a restructuring plan and emergency rate hike intended "to accomplish the financial recovery of the company."

An official at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manchester, N.H., said she was unaware of any involuntary or voluntary filings involving PSNH.

Ashooh said Midlantic's move was not unexpected because the grace period on the default had expired. But he said the utility will not pay the $425 million.

"We're not in a position to pay that," he said. "That's why we didn't pay the interest."

The utility has been pushed to the brink of bankruptcy because of staggering debts on its Seabrook nuclear power plant.

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