Qtel secures $1.5bn credit facility

UPDATE 1: Facility agreed giving Qatar Telecom additional scope to become top 20 global player by 2020.

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By  Martin Morris Published  March 3, 2009

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) confirmed on Tuesday it has successfully secured a $1.5 billion credit facility.

The telco had already secured the support of its relationship banks, including Bank of Tokyo – Mitsubishi, Barclays, BNP Paribas, DBS Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, as lead arrangers and bookrunners. Qatar National Bank will be acting as a lead arranger and general financial adviser. 

Banking sources close to the deal said each of the banks committed $200 million for a fee of 200 basis points (bp), adding the loan carries a margin of 250 bp over LIBOR.

International Bank of Qatar, JP Morgan Chase, Arab Bank, Doha Bank and Housing Bank for Trade and Finance have also joined the deal with smaller tickets to take the total to $1.5 billion, the sources told Reuters.

The bankers said the borrower would like $2 billion and a general syndication will be used to raise the remaining amount.

The original three-year $2 billion revolving credit facility was arranged by mandated lead arrangers and book runners Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland in November 2006 and paid a margin of 22.5 bps over LIBOR.

Qtel’s success in securing the facility provides the company with enhanced capacity to continue to execute its strategic vision to become one of the world’s top 20 telecommunications companies by 2020

Dr. Nasser Marafih, CEO of the Qtel Group, said: “Qtel is sailing on a clearly charted path to becoming one of the world’s leading telecommunication companies, and the facility will provide us with the financial flexibility necessary to achieve our long-term goals and ambitions.”

Ali Shareef Al Emadi, Group CEO of Qatar National Bank (QNB), said: “We are very proud to have played a significant part in launching this facility as an initial mandated lead arranger and general financial adviser to Qtel, since this initiative reflects the extent of international support for and interest in the businesses of the dynamic and growing economy of Qatar.” 

Scott Barton, Head of Global Banking & Markets Middle East & Africa, RBS said: “With the successful completion of the first stage and launch of the general syndication, Qtel has raised more than $10 billion in the international bank loan markets in just over two years.

''This achievement marks the largest corporate financing for any corporate in the MENA region and one of the largest in the world.''

He added that Qtel is well positioned to emerge in a stronger strategic and financial position amidst the current financial backdrop.

The Qtel Group has diversified internationally into 17 countries, with established operations in Gulf neighbors including Kuwait and Oman, and growth potential in major emerging markets including Indonesia, Iraq, Algeria, and Tunisia.

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