Dubai Holding's $2.25bn syndicated loan for Tunisie Telecom stake signed

Dubai Holding's $2.25bn syndicated loan for Tunisie Telecom stake signed

DUBAI, 23 September 2006: Dubai Holding has announced the successful syndication of a US $2.25 billion loan for financing its 35 % stake in Tunisie Telecom. The loan has enabled the consortium, formed by Dubai Holding's subsidiaries Dubai Investment Group and TECOM Investments (TECOM-DIG), to complete their landmark investment in Tunisie Telecom.

The 18-month syndicated loan closed more than 100% oversubscribed in July 2006. A total of 45 financial institutions have participated in the facility, with around 50% of lenders coming from the Middle East and the remainder from Europe and Asia. The lead arrangers were Emirates Bank and Standard Chartered.

At the loan signing ceremony, held in Dubai, Fadel Al Ali, Chief Financial and Operating Officer of Dubai Holding said: "Our stake in Tunisie Telecom is our biggest investment in the region's telecoms sector so far. The successful syndication of the $2.25bn loan reflects the confidence of financial institutions in our investment strategy and the growth potential of the MENA telecom market. The support of Emirates Bank and Standard Chartered was instrumental in achieving the investment's objectives and we look forward to expanding our telecom market share as new business opportunities arise and are evaluated."

The loan syndication process started after TECOM-DIG successfully bid for 35 % of Tunisie Telecom in March this year. Its offer of US $2.25 billion outbid 12 other leaders in the telecom industry and resulted in the signing of a binding share agreement in April.

The Tunisie Telecom stake is part of Dubai Holding's larger strategy to make key acquisitions in the telecom sector in the MENA region. Earlier this year, the TECOM-DIG consortium acquired a 60% stake in Maltacom, the leading telecom carrier in Malta. This investment complements TECOM's plans to build a knowledge-industry park in Ricasoli in Malta.

Abdulwahed Al Fahim, General Manager, Emirates Bank said: "The response to the syndicated loan for the Tunisie Telecom stake reaffirms the leading role Emirates Bank plays in supporting the growth of key sectors, not just in the UAE but throughout the region. We have a strong relationship with Dubai Holding, which we are keen to develop as the organization widens its investment portfolio across the region."

Mohamed Metwally, Managing Director, Corporate Finance and Advisory, Middle East and Pakistan for Standard Chartered Bank said: "We are very happy to have supported Dubai Holding in completing this cross-border acquisition. The regional telecom market is at a dynamic stage of growth that makes it very attractive for investors. We see Dubai Holding's strategic acquisition of Tunisie Telecom stimulating more cross-border investments."

The TECOM-DIG investment strengthens Tunisie Telecom's ability to capitalize on the high growth in the telecom sector services among Tunisia's 10.2 million population. At the end of 2005, the company already had a substantial customer base of 3.4 million mobile subscribers and 1.2 million fixed line subscribers.