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MTN seals $2bn loan deal

Posted by By SOLA FANOWOPO and BISI OLALEYE on 2007/10/05 | Views: 2574 |

MTN seals $2bn loan deal

Nigeriaís leading telecommunications company, MTN, has received a new loan facility of $2 billion from a consortium of 21 foreign and Nigerian banks and financial institutions.

Nigeriaís leading telecommunications company, MTN, has received a new loan facility of $2 billion from a consortium of 21 foreign and Nigerian banks and financial institutions.

At a formal signing ceremony held in Lagos on Wednesday, Mr. Ahmad Farroukh, MTNís chief executive officer, reiterated the companyís determination to continue to play a significant role in fostering the countryís economic growth and development by providing excellent telecommunications and allied services across the country.

According to Farroukh, "the loan represents a strong vote of confidence in our operation and our organisation. We see this as a demonstration of the confidence that particularly the Nigerian financial sub-sector has placed in MTN to deliver value to both our customers and the Nigerian economy with 80 percent of the facility being Naira denominated. We are also thankful to the millions of MTN customers across Nigeria whose loyal patronage has helped to make this possible."

The $2 billion facility, said to be the largest loan syndication to any individual telecommunications company in Africa, is coordinated globally by the Standard Bank Group of South Africa. It is subdivided into a US dollar denominated segment, comprising $400 million, a Naira denominated N142 billion mid-term facility and another Naira denominated N63 billion revolver facility, respectively. IBTC Chartered, Nigerian subsidiary of Standard Bank, is the local lead arranger.

Mr. Atedo Peterside, CEO of IBTC Chartered Bank, added that "the timing in concluding this deal and the announcement is important to us as a newly formed entity resulting from the successful merger between IBTC Chartered and Stanbic Bank Nigeria. We are delighted to be part of the Standard Bank Group and to be working with the leading telecommunications operator in Nigeria."

Heloise Smith, director, telecoms and media Africa at Standard Bank, said, "our vast experience in advising and funding telecommunications projects across the continent led us to embrace the opportunity to once again partner with MTN to facilitate further growth in the Nigerian telecommunications sector".
With presence in all 36 states and Abuja , MTNís coverage currently spans some 89 percent of Nigeriaís total land mass. It has installed in excess of 2,800 base stations, 45 mobile switching centres and over 50 base station controllers across Nigeria.

Farroukh said that the combination of vision, strategic focus and disciplined implementation has seen MTN emerge as Nigeriaís leading telecommunications company, availing several millions of customers of telecommunications and allied services.
In so doing, he said, "we are proud of the modest contributions MTN continues to make in helping to foster economic growth and development across the country," adding, "this loan facility will facilitate MTNís continuous investment in the economy."

MTN, said Farroukh, has continued to witness rapid growth. "We have made significant investment in rising to the challenge of meeting the demand for our services. Ours is a brand that many Nigerians have come to love and cherish. Over the last two months, we have implemented perhaps, the fastest rate of network deployment in this country with an increased rate of base stations deployment." With the benefit of the new loan facility, he said, "we will fasttrack our network expansion even further."
MTN, said Farroukh, has so far invested more in telecommunications infrastructure in Nigeria than any other operator.

"Our nationwide microwave radio transmission backbone spans some 8,497 kilometers. This, when combined with over 4,000 kilometers of fibre optic transmission backbone, translates to a growing capacity to provide telecommunications and allied services to the wider information and communications technology industry," he said, adding that MTNís transmission backbone is currently the most extensive privately owned transmission backbone in Africa.

Farroukh said that MTN, will continue to dedicate itself to customer satisfaction and ethical business conduct, in conformity with global best demonstrated practice.
"In so doing, corporate social responsibility will remain integral to our operations."
In 2006, MTN introduced a new bundle of products and services, known as the Xtraordinary bundles, which significantly reduced tariffs and offered new robust value propositions to its several million customers.

Beyond providing a robust suite of telecommunication services, MTN dedicates a percentage of its annual profits to corporate social responsibility initiatives via the MTN Foundation. Over the years, the MTN Foundation has received dozens of local and international awards for its deft and programmatic approach to sustainable development, with a clear focus on health, education and economic empowerment.

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