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Batelco set to enter global bond market

Bahrain telco seeks debt funding for Cable & Wireless deal

Batelco is expected to use the debt to part-fund its acquisition of Cable & Wireless' Monaco and islands portfolio.
Batelco is expected to use the debt to part-fund its acquisition of Cable & Wireless' Monaco and islands portfolio.

Bahrain operator Batelco is poised for its debut in the global bond market following the selection of a number of banks to help the telco drum up investor interest, Reuters reported.

Batelco, which is 78%-owned by the Bahraini government, is said to be raising the money as part of its $1bn acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications' Monaco and islands portfolio, a transaction that was partly completed earlier this month.

Citigroup Inc and BNP Paribas are to act for Batelco in arranging investor meetings, which are set to start tomorrow.

The Bahraini operator took out a 10-month $650m bridge loan with the same two banks and the loan term reportedly expires in December.

"We assume that Batelco will use the proceeds from the proposed issue to refinance the bridge loan of $650m, which the company mostly drew to finance the acquisition of assets from Cable & Wireless," Standard & Poor's said in a rating assessment.

Both S&P and Fitch have rated Batelco's potential debt BBB-. Investor meetings will take place in the UAE, Singapore, Hong Kong, and London, and are expected to last until Friday.