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Etisalat secures US$3 billion

The UAE operator has turned to four international banks for the crdit facility, which it claims will assist in its plans to be in the world's top 20 telecoms operators by 2010.

UAE operator Etisalat has secured a US$3 billion credit facility, having set up a revolving line of credit with four banks for a period of one year, with a one year extension option. The credit has been underwritten by Barclays, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and HSBC on an equal basis.

The loan arrangement comes just as Etisalat prepares to bid for the third mobile licence in Egypt, seen as one of the most important opportunities in the region. According to CFO Salem Al Sharhan, the extra funds will help with Etisalat’s expansionary ambitions. “This new revolving line of credit will help save time and give a push to our ambitions to be among the world’s largest telecoms operators, entering strategic and important markets that will help bring profitability to our stakeholders.” Etisalat has publicly stated that it wants to be among the world’s top 20 leading operators by 2010.

Speaking to CommsMEA, Etisalat CEO Mohammed Al Qamzi declared that there were more than 17 international markets the operator was currently looking at, including Yemen, Serbia, Armenia, Egypt and Hong Kong. “There is no place on Earth we don’t think of,” he claimed. Last month Etisalat announced it had paid US$40.1 million to operate a mobile network in Afghanistan.

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