Virgin Mobile secures loan for Middle East expansion plan

Europe’s largest Islamic bank says it has concluded $15m facility for MVNO operator in the region
Virgin Mobile secures loan for Middle East expansion plan
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 02 Jun 2014 01:35 PM

BLME, Europe’s largest Islamic bank, announced on Monday that it has concluded a $15 million senior secured facility for Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA), the regional MVNO group rolling out its brand across the region.

VMMEA said it will use the facility to fuel the company’s growth in the GCC region and further cement its position as a leading Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).

The cross-border agreement covers operations across Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and South Africa, with future roll-outs planned in a number of other countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Massoud Janekeh, head of Islamic Capital Markets of BLME (Bank of London and the Middle East), said: “The telecommunications sector is witnessing significant growth in the Middle East, as a result of increased infrastructure investment and development, particularly in the Gulf states.

"This is increasingly being supplemented by the emergence of MVNO offerings, which VMMEA has pioneered. BLME’s involvement in this transaction highlights the continuous need for Islamic financing products as well as our capability to execute transactions across a number of jurisdictions.”

Mikkel Vinter, CEO of VMMEA, added: “I am pleased to have BLME as a new financier for VMMEA, and am delighted by the successful funding under our Murabaha agreement.

"We continue to develop our business and invest in growth opportunities and the funding from BLME is an enabler for future accelerated growth. We are pleased that the approval of the facility follows an exhaustive legal and financial due diligence by BLME and the successful conclusion of the facility is a sign of trust in the current VMMEA operations and future plans."

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