Qtel eyes $2bn loan refinance
LONDON QATAR Telecom (Qtel) has sent requests for proposals to international lenders for a $2 billion refinancing loan that will mark its return to the market after a two-year gap, bankers close to the deal said.
“It is one of the few corporates in Qatar that is able to access the market. It is right that Qtel gets centre stage,” one European banker said.
Its record as an annual borrower since 2007 — with the exception of 2011 — of more than $2 billion should help generate momentum for the deal.
Qtel, the Gulf’s third-largest telecoms operator in terms of subscriber numbers with 83 million, declined to comment.
The top-rated company wants to split financing between a $1 billion standby commercial paper facility and a $1 billion revolver. Proceeds will refinance its $3 billion, five-year loan signed in 2007 that matures this October.
Rated A by S&P, A2 by Moody’s and A+ by Fitch, Qtel plans to expand through acquisitions and grow organically, chief executive Nasser Marafih told Reuters in March. Its plans include the potential buyout of a private equity partner’s stake in Iraq’s No 2 telecoms operator, Asiacell, before offering shares in it to the public, other people close to the company.