Omantel plans to tap bridge loan facility for Zain shares acquisition

Zain has a presence mostly in the Middle East and Africa, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan. (Reuters)
Updated 23 August 2017
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Omantel plans to tap bridge loan facility for Zain shares acquisition

DUBAI: Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) plans to tap a bridge loan facility to fund the acquisition of a 9.84 percent stake at Zain, which was valued at $846.1 million (SR3.17 billion).
The loan would be taken through a long-term loan facility or combined with capital markets instrument, Omantel said in a disclosure to the country’s stock exchange.
“Both Moody’s Investors Services and S&P have confirmed Omantel’s current ratings post announcement with Moody’s qualifying further the transaction as credit positive,” the telecoms provider said.
Under the agreement signed earlier, Omantel will buy 425.7 million Zain treasury shares — or 9.84 percent — in cash at a price of 0.60 dinars ($1.99) per share during a public action scheduled tomorrow, August 24.
“Acquiring a minority stake in Zain is a deliberate investment for Omantel to position itself as a leading digital service provider,” the company said, which was in line with its corporate strategy of aiming for “growth and diversification.”
The transaction, once completed, would allow Omantel to expand its market to an additional nine countries with a population of about 175 million. Zain has a presence mostly in the Middle East and Africa, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Jordan.
Omantel was making a “deliberate investment” in Zain as part of its strategy to “position ourselves as a leading digital service provider,” Omantel’s Chief Financial Officer Martial Caratti earlier said.
Credit Suisse is acting as the exclusive financial adviser and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as legal adviser to Omantel on the deal.


Oil theft ‘costing Libya over $750m annually’

Updated 44 min 17 sec ago
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Oil theft ‘costing Libya over $750m annually’

  • Libya’s oil sector collapsed in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
  • The recovery of oil production and exports is key to restoring Libya’s economy.

Tripoli: Fuel smuggling is costing Libya more than $750 million each year and harming its economy and society, the head of the National Oil Company in the conflict-riddled country said.
“The impact of fuel smuggling is destroying the fabric of the country,” NOC president Mustafa Sanalla said according to the text of a speech delivered on Wednesday at a conference on oil and fuel theft in Geneva.
“The fuel smugglers and thieves have permeated not only the militias which control much of Libya, but also the fuel distribution companies which are supposed to bring cheap fuel to Libyan citizens,” he said.
“The huge sums of money available from smuggling have corrupted large parts of Libyan society,” he added.
The backbone of the North African country’s economy, Libya’s oil sector collapsed in the wake of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Before the revolt Libya, with estimated oil reserves of 48 billion barrels, used to produce 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd).
But output fell to less than 500,000 bpd between 2014 and 2016 due to violence around production facilities and export terminals as rival militias fought for control of Africa’s largest crude reserves.
No oil was exported from Libya’s main ports until September 2016 with the reopening of the Ras Lanuf terminal in the country’s so-called oil crescent.
The recovery of oil production and exports is key to restoring Libya’s moribund economy.
Sanalla urged Libya’s “friends, neighbors but above all the Libyan people themselves... to do everything they can... to eradicate the scourge of fuel theft and fuel smuggling.”