FRiENDi Group secures $25m funding

Company plans to expand across the MENA regions

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FRiENDi Group secures $25m funding Mikkel Vinter, CEO and founder, FRiENDi Group said that the FRiENDi Group is continuing to expand rapidly across the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  April 26, 2011

FRiENDi Group, a leading Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) and B-brand provider in the MENA region has secured $25m in new funding for its planned expansion in the Middle East, Africa and Asia region.

"FRiENDi Group continues to expand rapidly, and benefit from telecom markets across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia region moving towards increasingly segmented customer propositions. The new funding from distinguished financial institutions and investors supports FRiENDi Group's vision of establishing a multi-market regional footprint. We are particularly delighted that the approval of the Standard Bank facility follows an exhaustive bankability review by Standard Bank of FRIENDI Group's operations and its future prospects," said Mikkel Vinter CEO and founder, FRiENDi Group.

FRiENDi Group, headquartered in Dubai Internet City, is now operating MVNOs or B-brand partnerships in Oman, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The new funding is made up of $10 million from new and existing shareholders, led by Dolphin International LLC of Oman.

"As a privately owned Omani company Dolphin International has enjoyed a partnership with FRiENDi Group since 2006.  Our latest additional investment in FRiENDi Group reflects the success of the Group to date, and our shared vision of the future growth opportunities in the region's attractive mobile telecommunications market," said Mohamed Y. Al Ibrahim, managing director of Dolphin International LLC and member of the Board of Directors for FRiENDi Group.

New FRiENDi Group shareholder, National Technology Enterprises Company (NTEC) of Kuwait also aided in the $10m investment.

"NTEC invests equity in high-tech companies that have the potential of regional expansion, and a proven concept with a sustainable business model. We are confident that the FRiENDi Group has a bright future ahead of it, and the success of FRiENDi Group's existing operations underscores the attractiveness of this opportunity," said Ghassan Al-Sultan, senior manager of Investment Projects from NTEC.

The $15m balance was provided by Standard Bank in the form of a structured debt facility.

"Standard Bank is delighted to have provided financing to FRiENDi Group, the leading service based mobile provider in the MENA region. This facility demonstrates our committed support to the development of innovative telecoms services. Our team's considerable sector and structuring expertise combined with local and international market knowledge enables us to offer highly structured financing solutions to clients in our core regions," said Rassem Zok, CEO, Standard Bank plc, MENA.

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