Qatar Telecom (Qtel) yesterday said it successfully secured a $1.5 billion (Dh5.5bn) credit facility. As of yesterday, the facility is already over-subscribed and Qtel will officially extend the opportunity to other lenders to join this successful facility in the general syndication phase.
Prior to yesterday's launch, Qtel secured the support of its relationship banks, including The Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays Capital (the investment banking division of Barclays Bank), BNP Paribas, DBS Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland, as initial mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners, with Qatar National Bank as an initial mandated lead arranger and general financial adviser to Qtel.
These banks were joined by other relationship banks including International Bank of Qatar, JP Morgan Chase, Arab Bank, Doha Bank and Housing Bank for Trade and Finance, Qtel said in a statement.
Qtel's success in launching the first stage of the facility – which is one of the largest and the first forward start facility executed in the GCC region so far in 2009 – provides the company with enhanced capacity to continue to execute on its strategic vision to become one of the world's top 20 telecommunication companies by 2020, the telecom provider said.
This first stage will be followed by a second general syndication phase.
Executives at Qtel said that the credit facility will be accessed to support re-financing of an existing credit facility due to mature in November 2009. "This is an important milestone in the ongoing development of Qtel. We are deeply gratified by the sustained support afforded by our shareholders and by our international banking partners, particularly given the current market conditions," said Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman of Qtel.
Dr Nasser Marafih, CEO of the Qtel Group, said: "Qtel is sailing on a clearly charted path to becoming one of the world's leading telecommunication companies, and the facility will provide us with the financial flexibility necessary to achieve our long-term goals and ambitions."
Ali Shareef Al Emadi, Group CEO of Qatar National Bank, said: "We are very proud to have played a significant part in launching this facility as an initial mandated lead arranger and general financial adviser to Qtel, since this initiative reflects the extent of international support for and interest in the businesses of the dynamic and growing economy of Qatar."
Scott Barton, Head of Global Banking and Markets Middle East and Africa, RBS said: "With the successful completion of the first stage and launch of the general syndication, Qtel raised more than $10bn in the international bank loan markets in just over two years. This achievement marks the largest corporate financing for any corporate in the Mena region and one of the largest in the world."
Barton added: "Qtel has positioned itself as a global player that is well-situated to emerge in a stronger strategic and financial position amid the current financial backdrop. The facility amplifies the strong credit story of Qtel and Qatar, as demonstrated by the strong investment grade rating assigned to Qtel by Moody's, S&P and Fitch Ratings."
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