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S&P lifts Virgin Media's credit rating

Standard & Poor's upgraded Virgin Media's credit rating Monday, citing the company's strong performance during the recession and refinanced debt.

S&P raised the British TV, Internet and phone service provider one notch to "BB-," from "B+" with a "Positive" outlook. The rating is still considered non-investment, or "junk," grade, but the higher rating could reduce the company's costs when it borrows money.

The agency noted that Virgin Media had refinanced its debt over the past three years, pushing back deadlines for paying off loans, and also that the company converted most of its borrowings to bonds rather than bank credit.

S&P said Virgin's "business has been resilient to the dual pressures of the severe economic downturn and the persistently high competition in the U.K."

Shares in Virgin Media Inc. rose $1.17, or 7.5 percent, to $16.85 in afternoon trading.