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Qwest: We’ll Erase $3.5B of $11.8B Debt Over Next Year

Debt-saddled Qwest Communications International Inc. (Q) plans to shed that label somewhat.

The Denver-based RBOC said on Thursday it is working to cut its debt by 25 percent, or $3.5 billion, over the next 12 months. The company ended 2009 with $11.8 billion in net debt.

Qwest has come under scrutiny many times for that high debt load, especially as it sheds landline users in a weak, wireless-friendly economy.

Among the measures Qwest hopes will ease its financial obligations: not renewing the lease on its 52-story Denver headquarters building.

Executives made the debt-reduction announcement in an analyst meeting.

Shares of Qwest were trading higher about 40 minutes before Wall Street’s close on Friday – they were up 2.36 percent at $4.55.

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