Ettihad Etisalat signs up for bridge finance

15 October 2004
The signing of the 12-month bridge finance facility for Ettihad Etisalat took place in Dubai on 13 October. The twin-tranche, $2,350 million facility had Samba Financial Group, Citigroup, Emirates Bank Internationaland National Commercial Bank as its bookrunners. They were joined at the mandated lead arranger (MLA) level by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Bank al-Jazira, Dubai Islamic Bankand Kuwait Finance House (MEED 1:10:04). Trower & Hamlinsacted as legal adviser.

Joining at general syndication were ABN Amro, Arab Banking Corporation, Arab Bank, Arab National Bank (ANB), Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait, Bank of Baroda, Banque Saudi Fransi, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Dubai Bank, Gulf International Bank, Habib Bank AG Zurich, National Bank of Sharjah, Riyad Bank, Saudi British Bank and United Arab Bank.

It is understood that ticket sizes varied widely, with most of the Dubai-based banks taking small positions of around $5 million and some of the larger positions scaled back to $40 million. Arab Bank and its Saudi affiliate, ANB, are understood to have tabled very large offers.

'It makes interesting reading to see which banks came into this deal,' says a banker involved. 'With the exception of ADIB there are no Abu Dhabi institutions, which is a surprise, given Etisalat's presence.'

The debt package was divided into two tranches. Tranche A, worth $1,600 million, is for the part-financing of the licence and has a margin of 50 basis points (bp). There is a six-month, term-out option which can be exercised for a 10-bp fee. Tranche B, worth $750 million, will be used for equipment purchases. It has a margin of 112 bp.

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