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Etisalat says to create $8 bln bond programme

Etisalat will establish a $7 billion global medium-term note (GMTN) programme.

November 11, 2010 2:24 by

UAE telecoms group Etisalat , which is eyeing a stake in Kuwait’s Zain , said on Thursday it will create an $8 billion bond programme in the coming few days.

Etisalat will establish a $7 billion global medium-term note (GMTN) programme and a $1 billion sukuk programme, which will allow it to issue conventional or Islamic bonds when needed, it said in a statement on the bourse website.

Etisalat, formerly known as Emirates Telecommunications Co, is finalising loan facilities worth $12 billion from a club of around 12 banks to cover the cost of its planned 46 percent acquisition of Zain, banking sources close to the deal have said.

The company, advised by Morgan Stanley and National Bank of Kuwait, offered in September to buy the Zain stake for 1.7 dinars ($6.07) a share.

“The establishment of the programme will help Etisalat in accessing a large pool of global investors to diversify its funding sources and manage its debt maturity profile effectively,” the statement said.

The creation of the programme “does not mean that any bonds or sukuk are being issued (for) the time being, however, it is a preparation for future issuances if needed”, it added.

The Gulf Arab region’s No. 2 telecoms group has an A+ rating from Fitch, which said in its latest report on the company it would not expect a borrowing of the full amount to impact this rating due to its conservative financial policy.

Etisalat, which operates in 18 countries including Egypt and India but derives 85 percent of its income from domestic operations in the United Arab Emirates, is among Gulf telecom operators looking to expand overseas after losing their monopoly at home.

(Reporting by Tamara Walid; Editing by Amran Abocar and David Holmes)

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