NCB, Samba to arrange GSM licence guarantee

10 September 2004
National Commercial Bank (NCB)and Samba Financial Grouphave signed a SR 10,400 million ($2,800 million) guarantee facility agreement with the Ittihad Etisalatconsortium in favour of the telecoms regulator, the Communications & Information Technology Commission (CITC). The facility guarantees about 80 per cent of the SR 12,200 million ($3,250 million) fee for the kingdom's second mobile licence, which was awarded to the consortium ledby the UAE's Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)in August (MEED 13:8:04).

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.

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