Qtel Seeks $2bln Loan

Qatar Telecom has sent requests for proposals to international lenders for a $2bn refinancing loan that will mark its return to the market after a two-year gap, bankers close to the deal said.

“It is one of the few corporate in Qatar that is able to access the market. It is right that Qtel gets centre stage,” one European banker said.

Its record as an annual borrower since 2007 – with the exception of 2011 – of more than $2bn should help generate momentum for the deal.

The top-rated company wants to split financing between a $1bn standby commercial paper facility and a $1bn revolver. Proceeds will refinance its $3bn, five-year loan signed in 2007 that matures this October.

Rated A by S&P, A2 by Moody’s and A+ by Fitch, Qtel plans to expand through acquisitions and grow organically, chief executive Nasser Marafih.

Its plans include the potential buyout of a private equity partner’s stake in Iraq’s No.2 telecoms operator, Asiacell, before offering shares in it to the public, as Reuters stated.

Loan activity in the oil-rich state has been subdued since 2007 because corporate and financial institutions are flush with cash, while many international lenders are grappling with a liquidity crunch.

However, volume may be boosted this year by Qatar’s $5.2bn of maturing debt.


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