Sri Lanka’s telecom firm Etisalat Lanka has received a US$125mn loan partly backed by Belgium’s ECA, ONDD.

HSBC acted as sole arranger, sole lender and facility agent on the US$100mn ONDD-backed tranche, and arranged a complementary US$25mn commercial facility. The proceeds will be used to finance Etilasat’s 3G expansion programme, including the import of equipment from Alcatel-Lucent.

This is the largest ECA-backed transaction in the Sri Lankan private sector to date and the first ECA financing to Etisalat.

Nick Nicolaou, CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives says: “Etisalat is a considerable force in the telecommunication industry in Sri Lanka, and we are pleased to have led this transaction to support its expansion plans and help facilitate advanced technological solutions to its growing customer base and the industry as a whole.”

Etisalat Lanka CEO Dumindra Ratnayaka adds: “Etisalat strongly believes in the growth potential of Sri Lanka and we want to support the ongoing development by providing the latest in technology to the country. The support received from ONDD and HSBC, is representative of the confidence both parties retain in the company. The strong partnership with HSBC, ONDD and Alcatel-Lucent will now enable us to offer the best in technology and services to our customers.”

With over 4 million subscribers to date, Etisalat is the fastest-growing telecommunication network in Sri Lanka.