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.


Dubai regulators move against Abraaj Capital

Updated 19 min 20 sec ago
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Dubai regulators move against Abraaj Capital

  • Dubai regulators have implemented a winding up order against Abraaj Capital stopping it from doing any new business in the emirate’s financial center
  • The DFSA said it has also stopped Abraaj Capital from moving funds to other parts of the group

DUBAI: Dubai regulators have moved against Abraaj Capital, the UAE arm of the beleaguered private equity group, implementing a winding up order against it and stopping it doing any new business in the emirate’s financial center.

The Dubai Financial Services Authority, the regulatory arm of the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), announced the moves after the DIFC Courts earlier this month received a petition to wind up the troubled firm under UAE insolvency laws.

The court has appointed two liquidators from the accounting firm Deloitte to oversee the winding up order.

“The DFSA will continue to take all necessary actions within its remit to protect the interests of investors and the DIFC,” the regulator said in a statement.

 

The DFSA also said it has stopped Abraaj Capital from moving funds to other parts of the group.


The DFSA has been monitoring events at the company since the scandal at Abraaj broke in February, involving redirection of investment funds to purposes for which they were not intended.

Only a relatively small part of Abraaj’s operations fall under the remit of the DFSA. Most of its business and assets are located in the Cayman Islands, the domicile for its ultimate holding company Abraaj Holdings Limited (AHL) and its main operation business Abraaj Investment Management. The Cayman entities are also going through liquidation procedures.

The DFSA said: “Given the onset of financial difficulties of the wider Abraaj Group, the DFSA has been closely monitoring the activities of its regulated entity ACL. The DFSA has taken regulatory actions over the past few months in order to safeguard the interests of investors and the DIFC.

“Given such actions and the current matters surrounding the Abraaj Group, the DFSA continues to monitor the limited financial services activities currently being undertaken by ACL,” it added.

ACL was authorized to conduct various financial services from DIFC, including managing assets and fund administration, but restricted to funds established by the firm or members of its group.

It could also advise on financial products, arranging deals in investments, and arranging and advising on credit.

It is unprecedented for the DFSA to comment on a case while it is still under investigation, but the application in the DIFC Courts on Aug. 1 presented an opportunity to address investors and DIFC members who were concerned about the scandal, which some observers believe has been damaging for Dubai’s reputation as a regional financial hub.

FACTOID

The Dubai Financial Services Authority has been monitoring events at Abraaj since a scandal emerged involving redirection of investment funds to purposes for which they were not intended.