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Mon 28 May 2007 12:47 AM

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MTC borrows $362m to expand Sudan network

MTC will use murabaha facility to expand Mobitel network across 80% of Sudan.

Mobile Telecommunications Co., the second-largest Gulf Arab telecom firm by market value, said on Sunday it had borrowed 270 million euros ($362.6 million) to fund network expansion of its Sudanese unit.

National Bank of Kuwait and Gulf Bank were among a group of lenders that arranged the Islamic murabaha facility for Mobitel, MTC said in a statement.

"MTC aims to ... expand the Mobitel network coverage to 80 % of the populated area of Sudan by the end of 2007," MTC said, without saying what the coverage is now.

The company, which owns 100 % of Mobitel, aimed to invest around $500 million boosting network coverage in Sudan this year, MTC said in its first-quarter earnings report.

Mobitel's revenues, which rose 29 % to $199 million in the three months to March 31, accounted for 13 % total MTC revenues in the period. The firm had 3.2 million subscribers at the end of the quarter.

Murabaha is a financing arrangement based on profit-sharing to comply with Islam's ban on lending on interest.

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