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Mon 22 Apr 2013 12:09 PM

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Bahrain's Batelco picks banks for bond roadshow

Telecom operator seeks meetings with investors ahead of a possible bond issue

Bahrain's Batelco picks banks for bond roadshow

Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) is planning its first foray into global debt markets after picking banks to arrange investor meetings starting this week.

The bond for Batelco, 78-percent owned by the Bahraini government, is expected to cover part of a funding package for its $1bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications' assets in Monaco and other island states.

The company completed part of the acquisition earlier this month.

Batelco has picked Citigroup Inc and BNP Paribas to arrange the meetings, which begin on April 23, a document from the banks said on Monday.

As part of the funding package, Batelco took out a 10-month $650m bridge loan in December last year from the same two banks. The deal was completed on Feb. 7, suggesting it expires at the end of 2013, IFR Markets, a unit of Thomson Reuters, reported earlier this month.

"We assume that Batelco will use the proceeds from the proposed issue to refinance the bridge loan of $650 million, which the company mostly drew to finance the acquisition of assets from Cable & Wireless," Standard & Poor's said in its rating assessment of the proposed notes.

Both S&P and Fitch Ratings have rated the potential bond BBB-, in line with their score for the company.

Investor meetings will cover the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Hong Kong, and London, and conclude on April 26.

A Reg S bond may follow subject to market conditions. No indication of the size of the potential issue was given.

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