Orascom Telecom secures US$ 2 bn committed bank facility, launches Algeria project
Orascom Telecom Holding S. A. E. ("Orascom Telecom”) has announced that it had secured a five year senior secured debt facility totaling US$ 2.0 billion on a committed and underwritten basis. The facility will be used to repay the current holding company indebtedness of Orascom Telecom, which includes approximately US$ 650 million and the US$ 1.2 billion vendor note issued by Hutchison Whampoa Limited in connection with Orascom Telecom's acquisition of a 19.3% stake in Hutchison Telecom International Limited ("HTIL") announced on December 21st, 2005.
The facility will be initially secured against Orascom Telecom's direct and indirect interests in MobiNil, Egypt's leading GSM mobile operator, and the HTIL stake.
Aldo Mareuse, Chief Financial Officer of Orascom Telecom, commented "The new facility provides long term financing for the acquisition of our strategic stake in HTIL. In addition, the committed facility extends greater financial flexibility for the continued development of our fast growing businesses and creates a simpler and more transparent capital structure. Taking into account the impact of the refinancing of the indebtedness of Weather Capital S.a.r.l. also announced today, Orascom Telecom should benefit significantly from the enhanced capital structure that will give it the flexibility to pursue its fast growth strategy.”
The four banks that have committed to underwrite the facility are ABN AMRO, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank. Orascom Telecom is in the process
of finalizing agreements with major Egyptian banks to formalize their leadership roles prior to the launch of a general syndication of the facility.
Meanwhile, the “Consortium Algerian de Telecommunications” announced the launch of fixed line services in Algeria under the brand name Lacom. Consortium Algerian de Telecommunications, a joint venture between Orascom
Telecom Holding and Telecom Egypt, has launched its fixed line telecommunication services in Algiers and announced plans to extend its coverage and introduce other innovative telecommunication services throughout the Algerian market during the coming years.
In May 2005, the consortium was awarded a 15 year renewable license to operate fixed line, local, national and international telecommunication services by the Algerian Post and Telecommunications Regulatory authority for US$ 65 million. Since then the consortium has embarked on deployment of state of the
art network infrastructure for the delivery of Next Generation Network Services to the Algerian Market.
Algeria is an attractive market for communications services with a low fixed line
teledensity and a fast growing economy. The Algerian fixed line market has been underserved and has a lot of unexploited potential.