Axiom arranges $400m loan to finance global expansion

Mobile phone group Axiom Telecom raises $400m, expansion in India and MVNO under consideration

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By  Mark Sutton Published  June 19, 2008

Axiom Telecom has raised a $400 million loan to fund its further expansion into global markets.

UAE-based Axiom, a retailer, distributor and content provider for mobile phones, said that the funds would allow it to focus on building presence in all markets, especially India, and to possibly set up operations as Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).

Speaking at a press conference today, Axiom CEO Fasial Al Bannai said that the company now sells five million handsets per month in India, compared to six to eight million handsets per year in Saudi Arabia, its biggest market in the Gulf.

The company launched a joint venture with Indian retailer Future Group in July last year, and while Bannai would not be drawn on definite plans, he said that India and other international markets offered the strongest prospect of making Axiom into a global payer.

"We have strong plans to further expand our position across, the region, and our Indian acquisition is a strong part of that strategy. It is definitely not a market to miss, definitely part of our global expansion policy," said Al Bannai.

As per the possibility of Axiom launching itself as an MVNO, Al Bannai said that the company was monitoring the situation as licences become available, such as in Jordan, but would be cautious about any launch.

"We are making sure we have a strong business foundation as markets open up. From our point of view, the move into an MVNO is one of the key strategic directions for us, but the question is always ‘what is the right market to launch into?' When we select the market to launch into, we want to get it right." he added.

The loan facility, which includes regular and Islamic multi-currency finance, has been arranged by JP Morgan, Emirates NBD and Dubai Islamic Bank.

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