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Thu 14 Oct 2010 11:06 AM

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Zain paid off most of its debt, plans to revamp the rest

'We have paid off most of our debts, what remains is a small amount with high interest' - COO

Zain paid off most of its debt, plans to revamp the rest
NO PLANS: AZain Group has no intention of selling its Sudan operations now.(Getty Images)

Mobile Telecommunications Co., the Kuwaiti phone operator in talks to sell a 46 percent stake to Etisalat, has paid the majority of its debts and wants to restructure the remainder, Chief Operating Officer Barrak al- Sabeeh said.

“We have paid off most of our debts, what remains is a small amount with high interest,” l-Sabeeh told reporters late Wednesday. “We want to restructure these debts with lower interest.”

Mobile Telecommunications, known as Zain, said last month it was considering options for a revolving credit facility of $1.5 billion to refinance existing debts at lower rates. “We are talking to banks,” al-Sabeeh said Oct. 11 when asked about the credit line. “It’s a facility whereby we can use it once we need it.”

Kuwait’s Kharafi Group, Zain’s second-largest shareholder, is leading the sale of a 46 percent stake in Zain to Etisalat, as Emirates Telecommunications Corp. is known. Etisalat is offering 1.7 dinars ($6) a share.

Zain Group has no intention of selling its Sudan operations now, Chief Executive Officer Nabeel Bin Salamah told reporters yesterday when asked if Zain would sell the Sudan unit before the planned deal with Etisalat.

Zain posted a fivefold rise in profit for the first nine months of the year to 976 million dinars ($3.46 billion) as it added customers and after a gain from selling most of its African operations in June to Bharti Airtel Ltd. for $9 billion. (Bloomberg)

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