Qtel closes syndicated term loan facility
Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has successfully closed a US$3,000,000,000 syndicated term loan facility, the company said in a statement. The facility attracted strong support in general syndication, with an additional participation of more than 20 banks.
ABN AMRO Bank N.V., Barclays Capital (the Investment Banking Division of Barclays Bank PLC) (“Barclays Capital”), BNP Paribas, DBS Bank Ltd (“DBS”), Qatar National Bank S.A.Q. (“QNB”) and The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (“RBS”) (together the “Underwriters”) dannounce the successful closing of the syndication. Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, DBS and RBS acted as Bookrunners. QNB and RBS acted as financial advisers to Qtel in this transaction. The Facility was signed on 1st November 2007.
Ahead of the launch of general syndication, the Underwriters were joined by Al Khalij Commercial Bank, CALYON, Deutsche Bank Luxembourg S.A., ING, Mashreq, Morgan Stanley, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Riyad Bank, Standard Chartered and Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd as Mandated Lead Arrangers.
The transaction was initially launched at USD2.5 billion. The facility attracted strong support in general syndication, with an additional participation of more than 20 banks and the amount of the loan was eventually increased to USD3.0 billion.
The Facility will be used to refinance the company’s existing USD2.5 billion bridge loan signed in March 2007 to finance the acquisition of Wataniya and for general corporate purposes. The five year term loan carries an initial margin of 0.65% per annum over LIBOR for the first 12 months and thereafter pricing is tied to a leverage grid.
In March 2007, Qtel acquired 51% of the share capital of Kuwait based National Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC (“Wataniya”) from Kuwait Projects Company for a total cash consideration of USD3.8 billion, in a deal that gives Qtel an increasingly important and prominent role in the MENA region. To part finance that acquisition, the underwriters provided a USD2.5 billion Bridge Loan.
“This syndicated loan of USD3.0 billion is an extraordinary success for us. Despite the difficult market conditions, we achieved a significant oversubscription of the transaction. The overwhelming support received from our regional and international banking partners from the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, bears a strong testimony to our sound business model, exciting growth strategy and strong credit fundamentals. Along with the existing USD2.0 billion facility, it has enabled us to seamlessly finance our expansion through Wataniya, Asia Mobile Holdings and Asia Cell for Communications LLC in Iraq. Through this transaction, we created an excellent platform and framework to further pursue our vision of being one of the top 20 telecommunications companies in the world by 2020,” said Dr Nasser Marafih, Chief Executive Officer.