Qatar Telecom (Qtel) today announced the signing of a syndicated revolving credit facility (the “Facility”), following the closing of the general syndication phase of the US$1.5 billion facility that was closed in March 2009. The general syndication, which was launched at US$1.5 billion, was to provide existing and new lenders to Qtel an opportunity to join the facility. The Facility was oversubscribed by more than 100 percent and the final facility size was increased to US$ 2 billion.
Backed by existing lenders and a number of new banks, the Facility refinances Qtel’s existing USD 2 billion three year revolving credit facility signed in November of 2006. Qtel’s progressive financing strategy combines one of the largest credit facilities closed in the GCC region in 2009 with a highly successful visit to international debt capital markets to provide further financial stability to execute on its strategic vision to become one of the world’s top 20 telecommunications companies by 2020.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani, Chairman of Qtel, commented: “Today marks another important step on our journey toward becoming one of the world’s top telecommunications companies. The support of our partners in the global financial community and the extent to which this facility was oversubscribed, in spite of the challenges of the current economic climate, reflects both the depth of our professional relationship, and the strength of their belief in our vision for this company.”
Prior to general syndication, Qtel secured the support of its relationship banks, including Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, DBS Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), as Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners, with QNB as an Initial Mandated Lead Arranger and General Financial Adviser to Qtel.
These banks were joined by our other relationship banks Arab Bank, Doha Bank, Housing Bank, International Bank of Qatar and JP Morgan for the new facility. Oversubscription was helped considerably by the strong, early support of additional Mandated Lead Arrangers Citigroup, Calyon and Gulf International Bank.
Dr. Nasser Marafih, CEO of the Qtel Group, said: “Qtel is an increasing globalised telecommunications group which retains our strong roots here in our home market of Qatar and neighbouring countries. Our international and regional balance is demonstrated by the range of financial partners supporting this important new credit facility, which will provide the stability that will enable us to continue to expand abroad and strengthen our position in existing markets”
Ali Shareef Al Emadi, QNB Group CEO, said: “Qtel continues to combine impressive ambition with astute and balanced management, which is why so many financial leaders were eager to play a role in this historic bank financing.”
“The closure of this landmark bank financing with such a significant oversubscription against the backdrop of prevailing challenging conditions within financial markets in 2009 is testament to Qtel’s considered execution of a carefully planned financial strategy,” said Simon Penney, Head of Global Banking & Markets Middle East & Africa (Designate), The Royal Bank of Scotland plc, on behalf of the Bookrunners and Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers. “Qtel has excellent relationships with its bank groups and this is a further endorsement of Qtel and Qatar with regards to their fundamental underlying credit strengths” he added.
Qtel continues to benefit from strong growth and profitability within its home market of Qatar as evidenced from the strong first half performance. The Qtel Group has diversified internationally into 17 countries, with established operations in Gulf neighbors including Kuwait and Oman, and growth potential in major emerging markets including Indonesia, Iraq, Algeria, and Tunisia.
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