Saudi Telecoms Company signs $200m loan for Bahrain operations

25 January 2011

Third mobile licence holder to continue build out of services

Saudi Telecoms Company (STC) has completed a $200m loan deal to fund the build out of its Bahrain subsidiary Viva Bahrain.

The investment in its Bahrain operations is part of the company’s attempt to boost profits in its international arms, after a disappointing fourth quarter of 2010 when profit shrank.

The $200m loan was provided by Saudi Arabia’s Samba and the UK’s HSBC, and was signed at the beginning of the year. It will have a tenor of up to seven years and proceeds will be used to expand its service in Bahrain.

STC won the third mobile licence in Bahrain in March 2009, paying $231m for the chance to set up operations in the country. It launched its services a year later, in March 2010.

STC also operates in Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Kuwait, Turkey, South Africa, Lebanon and Jordan. In mid-January, the company reported a 26 per cent fall in fourth-quarter profit. The company said profit fell to SR2.3bn ($613m) from SR2.94bn during the same period in 2009.

The company said that as it increased investment to improve the service in its foreign operations, it would boost profits in the coming quarters.

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