Friday, June 15, 2007

IFC Investment Helps Improve and Expand MTC-Celtel Mobile Services in Five African Countries

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced that it will provide financing to five subsidiaries of Celtel International B.V. to help expand and upgrade the company's fast-growing mobile networks in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Sierra Leone, and Uganda.

The $320 million investment package, IFC's largest financing to date in Sub-Saharan Africa, will result in better quality mobile access in countries with extremely limited telephone services, creating new opportunities for businesses and consumers across the economic spectrum.

IFC will provide a $160 million loan for its own account, and an additional $160 million in syndicated loans with participating commercial banks and parallel loans from bilateral financial institutions. The transaction also marks the first-ever mobilization of IFC syndicated loans in Madagascar, Malawi, and Sierra Leone, helping bring long-term commercial financing to markets at the frontier of private sector development. The syndication includes three South African banks that are participating in IFC's syndications program for the first time.

Celtel, which was acquired by MTC of Kuwait in 2005, will use the funds to modernize and develop the mobile networks in countries with obsolete and inadequate fixed-line networks and low telephone penetration rates, ranging from just over four phones for every 100 people in Malawi and Madagascar to about 10 per 100 people in Sierra Leone.

"Investment in infrastructure such as telecommunications is crucial for Africa's economic development, and our long-term collaboration with IFC shows that the private sector can play an important role in fulfilling that need," said Mo Ibrahim, Celtel's Chairman.

Over the past decde, IFC's clients have enabled 80 million subscribers to gain access to the telephone globally.   "Infrastructure is one of the key bottlenecks and principal reason for the high cost of doing business in Africa, which is a hindrance to economic competitiveness," said Edward Nassim, IFC Vice President for Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. "The expansion of mobile telephone services to underserved areas will help create a more favorable environment for businesses to operate, creating jobs and contributing to poverty reduction."

"Since our first cellular investment in the former Zaire in 1989, we have continued to invest heavily in the sector in Africa and to strengthen our partnership with companies like Celtel," said Mohsen Khalil, World Bank Group Director for Global Information and Communication Technologies. "Africa is now the fastest-growing cellular market, leading the world with innovative service offerings, such as Celtel's borderless free roaming across six countries."

IFC's relationship with Celtel dates back to 1994, with a series of investments in the holding company and its operating subsidiaries. These investments have contributed to the region's dramatic growth in mobile phone penetration levels, increased competition, and reduced tariffs.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.   IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.

About Celtel

Celtel is the most successful pan-African mobile network, offering telecommunications services to more people in Africa than any other network. The company is one of the best-known branded businesses in Africa with mobile licenses covering more than 400 million people, close to half of Africa's population. Under the brand promise of 'Making Life Better', the company is committed to achieving sustainable development of telecommunications in Africa. Celtel has more than 20 million customers and operates mobile cellular operations in 14 countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. For more information please visit www.celtel.com.

Celtel is owned by MTC, a leading provider of mobile telecommunications in the Middle East and Africa with 21 operations making it the 4th largest mobile company in the world in geographical footprint. MTC employs 13,000 people provides a comprehensive range of mobile voice and data services to over 29.7 million active individual and business customers. The company is in Kuwait and Bahrain as mtc-vodafone, in Jordan as Fastlink, in Iraq as mtc-atheer, in Lebanon as mtc-touch and in Sudan, under the brand name of 'Mobitel'. MTC will launch operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in early 2008.

The Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC (the parent company) is a Kuwaiti shareholding company and its shares are traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange. The company's market capitalisation at 1 June, 2007 exceeded US$ 28 billion. For more information please visit www.mtctelecom.com.

Note: All currency in US dollars unless otherwise specified.

IFC Financing Details:

  • IFC A-loan = US$160 million
  • IFC B-loan = US$131 million
  • IFC Parallel Loans = US$29 million

Celtel DRC – $75 million A-loan, US$64 million in B-loan; $11 million in parallel loans

Celtel Madagascar – $25 million in A-loan, $21 million in B-loan: $4 million in parallel loans

Celtel Malawi – $15 million in A-loan, $9.5 million in B-loan; $5.5 million in parallel loans

Celtel Sierra Leone – $25 million in A-loan, $25 million in B-loan

Celtel Uganda – $20 million in A-loan, $11.5 million in B-loan; $8.5 million in parallel loans

IFC B-Loan Participants:

  •    The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund Limited
  •    FirstRand Bank Limited
  •    Investec Bank Limited
  •    Nedbank Limited
  •    The Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO)

Parallel Lenders:

  •    DEG- Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH

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