x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

$8bn Etisalat fundraising plans unveiled

Etisalat will set up a global medium term program of $7 billion and a sukuk program of $1 billion to help fund its deal with Kuwaiti telecoms operator Zain.

Etisalat has established a bond and sukuk registration programme to help the company raise up to $8 billion (Dh29.3bn) ahead of its planned acquisition of Kuwaiti operator Zain.

Etisalat, the UAE's largest telecommunications operator, has begun the due diligence process to acquire a 51 per cent stake in Zain in a deal worth about Dh44 bn.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year and would make Etisalat one of the largest telecoms operators in the world.

In a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Etisalat has opened a programme for a $7bn global medium-term bond and a $1bn sukuk.

Salem Ali al Sharhan, the group chief financial officer for Etisalat, said that the two programmes will be registered on the London Stock Exchange.

Mr al Sharhan dismissed earlier reports that the operator was looking to raise $12bn in funding. He also declined to comment for what purposes the funds would be allocated.

On Wednesday, Reuters quoted an unnamed banker who said Etisalat was in talks with 12 banks to borrow $1bn apiece to help fund its Zain acquisition.

dgeorgecosh@thenational.ae