The participants in the loan are Commercial International Bank (Egypt – CIB), Misr International Bank (MIBank), National Societe Generale Bank, Cairo Barclays Bank, Banque Misr, Bank of Alexandria, Al-Watany Bank of Egypt, Egyptian Saudi Finance Bank, Arab Banking Corporation (Egypt), and the Cairo branches of Arab Bank, Citibankand Credit Lyonnais. CIB acted as co-ordinator and agent for the deal.

The loan can be drawn down until the end of 2002, and Telecom Egypt will have two years’ grace on its repayments. The loan has been provisionally priced at a margin over the Cairo interbank offered rate (Caibor). It is understood that if the Caibor reference point proves impractical, the alternative benchmark will be the Central Bank of Egypt discount rate. Three-month Caibor now stands at about 10.4 per cent, and the central bank discount rate is 11 per cent. The margin has not been disclosed.

‘Telecom Egypt is a very attractive lending proposition because of its extremely low leverage,’ says a banker involved in the deal. ‘We see this as a landmark transaction for the syndication of loans in Egypt. This is the way for banks to work together.’