Axiom to borrow $400mn to finance expansion

Dubai mobile phone distributor to close syndication facility in February, bankers say.
Axiom to borrow $400mn to finance expansion
By John Irish
Tue 08 Jan 2008 10:41 AM

Dubai-based mobile phone distributor Axiom Telecom could borrow up to $400 million in a revolving credit facility to help finance expansion, two bankers familiar with the deal said on Monday.

Axiom, which sells mobile phone handsets and accessories across the Middle East and India, is expected to close syndication of the 18-month facility in the first two weeks of February, said the bankers, who declined to be identified.

Axiom chief executive Faisal Al-Bannai declined to confirm the details of the facility when contacted by newswire Reuters.

"We are always enhancing our funding lines to meet our growth," Al-Bannai said.

Axiom, which signed an agreement last July with Pantaloon Retail India to sell mobile phones in India, plans to sell shares to the public, although it had not yet mandated a bank or determined the timeframe, Al-Bannai said.

"It's a decision for the shareholders when they feel it's the right time," Al-Bannai said. "It's in our pipeline."

The company, which operates more than 100 outlets in the UAE and about 75 in Saudi Arabia according to its website, is planning further expansion this year, he added.

"We want to solidify our position in the Middle East and India this year and are looking at [expanding into] Africa," Bannai said, declining to be more specific.

JP Morgan and Emirates Bank International, part of Emirates NBD, are arranging the deal. (Reuters)

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