Qtel seeks loan extension, say sources

Doha-based mobile telco operator seeks extension to $2bn loan, according to sources.

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By  Alasdair Reilly Published  February 18, 2009

Qatar Telecommunications Co (Qtel) is seeking a forward start agreement on a $2 billion loan, extending the credit by two years, banking sources said on Wednesday.

Under a forward start agreement, lenders typically agree to extend existing loans at final maturity in return for a hefty increase in pricing on the existing credit.

The original three-year $2 billion revolving credit facility financing was arranged by Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland in November 2006 and paid a margin of 22.5 basis points over LIBOR.

Core relationship banks on the deal are in discussions with the borrower over the exact terms of the agreement which could see $1.5 billion to $2 billion of the credit extended, one of the sources said.

Wider relationship banks are expected to be approached within a few weeks.

The report comes after the company's chairman earlier said it is on course to join the world's top 20 club of telecom operators before its target date of 2020.

Qtel Group chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani said the Doha-based service provider was "well ahead of schedule" on targets but added that 2009 would be a "challenging year economically". (Reuters)

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