Ittihad finance coming

01 October 2004
The initial public offering (IPO) of a 20 per cent stake in the Ittihad Etisalatis expected to be launched in October, subject to regulatory approval, sources close to the transaction say. Samba Financial Groupis the sole lead manager for the SR 1,000 million ($267 million) offering.

Under the terms drawn up by the telecoms regulator, the Communications & Information Technology Commission (CITC), the consortium led by the UAE's Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, is required to list on the local stock exchange and offer 20 per cent of shares to the public immediately, rising to 40 per cent after three years.

Samba, Citigroupand Emirates Bank Internationalwere the bookrunners on the syndication of the Ettihad's twin-tranche $2,350 million bridge loan. National Commercial Bankwas the other original mandated lead arranger (MLA). The MLA group was then expanded with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Bank al-Jazira, Dubai Islamic Bankand Kuwait Finance Housejoining (MEED 10:9:04).

Joining the 12-month deal at syndication were Arab Banking Corporation, Arab Bank, Arab National Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Gulf International Bank, Riyad Bankand Saudi British Bank.

The 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-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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