MTN and Standard Bank Announce Largest Debt Facility Deal in Africa
The MTN Group and Standard Bank have announced a US$2bn loan, which Standard Bank has arranged for the funding of MTN Nigeria’s network infrastructure expansion. The five-year medium-term debt facility, one of the largest ever telecoms deals on the continent, is to ensure that MTN Nigeria is appropriately capitalised to meet its key strategic objectives of increasing market share and improving coverage and capacity on its network. The debt raising was originally for US$1.2bn and was split into the Naira equivalent of US$840m in local currency facilities and US$360m of foreign currency facilities. Due to the extensive appetite from the commercial banks, especially the Nigerian banks, the syndication was subscribed by more than 200%. The syndication launched on 2 August and closed on 10 September. The upsized amount of US$2bn is split into the Naira equivalent of US$1.6bn and a US$400m foreign currency facility. Standard Bank has been closely involved in MTN’s expansion in Nigeria. It assisted in arranging a US$450m syndicated loan for MTN Group, which was partially used to fund the original licence payment when MTN entered the Nigerian market in 2001. Standard Bank also arranged MTN Nigeria’s Naira bridging finance facility in 2002, as well as co-arranged a US$395m loan in 2003. In 2004, Standard Bank raised a further US$200m for the company and in 2006, assisted with restructuring MTN Nigeria’s funding arrangements.