Etisalat says Nigeria unit inks $1.2bn loan deal

African unit will use medium term syndicated loan from 13 banks to refinance debt and expand network
By Daniel Shane
Wed 22 May 2013 03:16 PM

UAE telecommunications giant Etisalat said its Nigeria unit
had secured a $1.2bn medium term syndicated loan facility to refinance existing
debt and expand its network.

 “The company plans to
use the proceeds to refinance the existing commercial medium term debt of $650m
and continue its network rollout,” Etisalat’s CFO Serkan Okandan said in a
statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

The loan comes from a group of 13 lenders within Nigeria and
is denominated in both Nigerian naira and US dollars.

The company said earlier this year that it was seeking to
raise $500m in debt from local banks in order to expand its network
infrastructure.

Etisalat is currently the fourth largest mobile operator in
the west African country with a market share of about 15 percent, or 15m users.
This places it behind MTN at 43 percent, Globacom at 22 percent and Airtel at
20 percent. Etisalat says it wants to increase its market share to about 17
percent by this year, or add 4m new mobile subscribers.

The International Telecommunications Union forecasts Nigeria
to have 120m mobile subscribers by end 2013, out of a population of 170m.

The number of mobile users in Africa's most populous nation
crossed the 100m subscriber base in the first half of last year, adding six
million new callers from 2011.

Etisalat Nigeria is 40 percent owned by its UAE parent
company.

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