Fastlink gets US $22M from Citigroup

Fastlink, one of two mobile operators in Jordan, secured a US $22 million syndicated Islamic lease facility, known as Ijara, from Citigroup.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  September 8, 2002

Fastlink, one of two mobile operators in Jordan, secured a US $22 million syndicated Islamic lease facility, known as Ijara, on Sunday from Citigroup..

This the first Islamic leasing facility for a Jordanian borrower said Citigroup. "We are pleased to have been able bring in this new and diverse investor base to Jordan to support a major Jordanian company such as Fastlink, and we are also particularly pleased to introduce this alternative method of financing through Citi Islamic Investment Bank's first such deal in Jordan," said Suhair Al-Ali general manager of Citibank Jordan.

Citi Islamic Investment Bank headquartered in Bahrain, and Kuwait Finance House (KFH) jointly arranged for the facility that has a maturity of three years.

Participants include Citibank N.A., KFH, Kuwait Turk Finance House and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank.

Fastlink will use proceeds of the facility for the procurement of mobile telephone equipment from its major suppliers.

"We are also very pleased at the prospect of demonstrating to the Jordanian business community and beyond the merits of Islamic banking and its flexibility to accommodate financing requirements," said Omar Said, CEO of Fastlink

Fastlink has been in commercial service for seven years and does Egypt’s Orascom Telecom is a majority shareholder.

The Arab Advisors Group estimates that Fastlink received more than JD 21.7 (US$ 30.5) million from Jordan Telecom while paying no more than an estimated JD 2.5 (US$ 3.5) million in interconnection fees in 2001.

According to a recent report by the Arab Advisors total traffic between Fastlink and landlines in 2001 was 3.77 times the total traffic for MobileCom its competitor, although total subscribers number for Fastlink was 5.1 times the number for MobileCom by yearend 2001.

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