Qtel borrows $3 billion to cover acquisition debts

Loan expected to help Qtel expand its operations in Kuwait

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By  Roger Field Published  November 7, 2007

Qtel, Qatar's incumbent telecom operator, has borrowed US$3 billion to refinance an existing $2.5 billion bridge loan which it signed in March 2007 to finance its acquisition of Wataniya, Kuwait's second licensed GSM operator.

The loan, which was underwritten by ABN AMRO Bank, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas, DBS Bank Ltd, Qatar National Bank S.A.Q, and the Royal Bank of Scotland, is expected to help Qtel finance integration costs entailed by the acquisition and to expand Wataniya in Kuwait, according to industry analysts.

"This syndicated loan of $3 billion is an extraordinary success for us," said Dr Nasser Marafih, CEO, Qtel. "Despite the difficult market conditions, we achieved a significant over-subscription of the transaction.

"Along with the existing $2 billion facility, it (the loan) has enabled us to seamlessly finance our expansion through Wataniya, Asia Mobile Holdings and Asia Cell for Communications LLC in Iraq.

"Through this transaction, we created an excellent platform and framework to further pursue our vision of being one of the top 20 telecommunications companies in the world by 2020," Marafih added.

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