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Golden Telecom signs syndicated loan facility
|29 января 2007|
Fifteen banks and financial institutions will participate in the syndication with Citibank N.A., London Branch and ING Bank N.V. acting as mandated lead arrangers. The issue was heavily oversubscribed, allowing the Company to increase the loan facility to $275 million from $200 million, as initially anticipated. The loan provides for an eighteen month commitment for utilization with quarterly repayments beginning twenty-four months after signing. The loan carriers interest at the London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) plus 1.5% per annum for the first twenty-four months and LIBOR plus 2% per annum thereafter. The proceeds will be used, primarily, to finance the following projects:
- Acquisition and further development of Corbina Telecom. During 2005 and 2006, Corbina Telecom constructed the largest metropolitan Fiber-To-The-Building (“FTTB”) network in the world which covers 2.4 million apartments. Golden Telecom will use a portion of the funds to complete the acquisition of 51% of Corbina Telecom and to finance FTTB development in Moscow and other cities where construction has begun. The Company expects that within the next two to three years approximately 4 to 5 million households in Russia will be within the coverage area of the FTTB networks.
- Acquisition of Fortland and investment in digital TV broadcasting. In December 2006, the Company announced that it signed an agreement to acquire 65% of Fortland which holds licenses and frequencies for digital TV broadcasting using the Terrestrial Digital Video Broadcasting (“DVB-T”) technology in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The Company expects to roll out such services in 22 other major cities in Russia with a combined population of approximately 35 million people. Golden Telecom will use the funds to deploy transmitters and launch services offering 80 to 120 television channels broadcasting both free and premium content.
- Continuous regional expansion and consolidation of alternative operators. Since September 2005, Golden Telecom has been acquiring, on average, one operator per month, which is in line with the Company’s strategy of continuous regional expansion. Part of the proceeds will be used for investment in existing operations to facilitate the Company’s organic growth in the major Russian and CIS cities.
Commenting on the transaction, Boris Svetlichny, Golden Telecom’s Chief Financial Officer, noted, “Apart from financing the Company growth, this facility will improve our capital structure, effectively lowering cost of capital and increasing future returns on equity. Successful entry into the credit market will tighten the Company’s links with the investment community enabling quicker and cheaper capital market transactions in the future.” Jean-Pierre Vandromme, Golden Telecom’s Chief Executive Officer, noted, “In a fast growing market, as we currently see in Russia, it is vitally important to have the flexibility and financial resources to react quickly when market opportunities present themselves so as to invest timely in projects with sustainable growth. This loan, combined with the Company’s strong operational cash flows, will enable Golden Telecom to gain market share and strengthen its position as the leading alternative operator in Russia and the CIS.”
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