ABN AMRO Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi, Calyon, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, National Commercial Bank, Samba Financial Group and Saudi Hollandi Bank, as initial mandated lead arrangers, have closed SR10.781bn (US$2.875mn equivalent) of sharia-compliant debt finance for Etihad Etisalat.
ABN, Calyon, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and National Commercial Bank acted as bookrunners. Calyon also acted as documentation agent and Samba as facility agent.
The transaction set a new benchmark in the region being the largest sharia-compliant corporate syndication ever arranged and the first to use an innovative structure, with buy and sell of airtime minutes as commodity.
The outstanding financial and operating performance of Mobily, confirmed by the 2006 year-end results which place Mobily among the fastest growing and most well-managed telecom operators in the MENA region, allowed the company and IMLAs to simplify the facility structure from a limited-recourse transaction and syndicate the facility on a straightforward corporate basis.
The syndication was very well-received by the market in both the senior and the general phases of the syndication, attracting strong interest from leading international and regional banks, including a number of Saudi banks. The syndication generated a substantial oversubscription which was used to scale back participants.
The facility comprises the following tranches and banks were invited to fund either in US dollars or Saudi riyals.