Samba and NCB are part of the nine-strong mandated lead arranger (MLA) group appointed in late August by the consortium to arrange a $2,350 million financing to pay for the licence. The funds will be used to partially replace the guarantee facility. The other lead arrangers are Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al-Rajhi Banking & Investment Corporation, Bank al-Jazira, Citibank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates Bankand Kuwait Finance House(MEED 20:8:04).

Documentation is expected to be finalised imminently, after which the lead arrangers plan a wide syndication. NCB and Samba will act as local bookrunners, while Citibank and Emirates Bank are the international bookrunners. The facility will be wholly Islamic in structure (MEED 13:7:04).

BNP Paribasis financial adviser to the consortium, in which Etisalat holds a 30 per cent stake. All the other shareholders are local entities.