Thuraya takes out US$100 million loan with Emirates Financial Services

Emirates Bank International, National Bank of Dubai and Commercial Bank of Dubai were the lead managers for the transaction, all of which are new relationship banks with Thuraya. The bridge loan is expected to be replaced by a five-year syndicated loan after six months

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By  Christopher Reynolds Published  January 7, 2007

Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company has signed a US$100 million bridge loan agreement with Emirates Financial Services PSC as a part of a debt refinancing plan. The satellite terminal provider will use the loan to clear its outstanding debt and to allow more convenient terms for repayment. The new debt facility, which was approved by the Thuraya board of directors on December 24, will be used to pay off the balance of a US$600 million loan Thuraya took to finance its US$1 billion project in 1999, when the mobile satellite services industry was facing a great deal of challenges following the bankruptcy of satellite industry leaders Iridium, Globalstar and Astrolink. Emirates Bank International, National Bank of Dubai and Commercial Bank of Dubai were the lead managers for the transaction, all of which are new relationship banks with Thuraya. The bridge loan is expected to be replaced by a five-year syndicated loan after six months. “We are pleased with the great cooperation and support we are getting from these top UAE banks, which reflects their confidence in our leading market position and future potential,” said Thuraya CEO Yousuf Al Sayed. "Such support will be instrumental for us to continue our pioneering business plans and maintain our market positioning as the most innovative UAE-based MSS operator in the international satellite telecom industry," he added. Thuraya recently announced strong sales of its newest second generation, GPS and GPRS enabled, satellite terminal Thuraya SO-2510, with 28,000 units of the lightweight handset sold in during the last four months of 2006. Thuraya expects sales of the SO-2510 to hit 90,000 in the next 12-15 months.

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