Egypt s Mobinil is seeking to raise at least LE 1 billion ($183 million) in bonds to fund expansion and acquisitions, Chief Executive Hassan Kabbani said on Wednesday.
It is around that amount (1 billion) that we are looking for, he told reporters on the sidelines of a telecoms conference. It s not the ceiling. I know there is an interest for much more than that, he added.
Mobinil, which claims the largest share of Egypt s competitive mobile phone market, must make a LE 750 million payment for its 3G license and is also eyeing network expansion and the purchase of LinkDotNet and Link Egypt from one of its main shareholders, Orascom Telecom.
We are in a very advanced stage of our talks and negotiation with Orascom on that, Kabbani said.
The move to issue bonds comes as central bank regulations exclude the firm from borrowing due to Orascom s partial ownership.
Kabbani said investment bank EFG-Hermes is advising the firm, which is waiting to hear back from suitor banks regarding the level of interest in the bonds and terms and conditions.
It is too early for me to say, he said when asked for details of the possible maturity or coupon on any bonds issued. He said the firm would give priority to the Egyptian currency. I know in what direction, and the banks have a big appetite for us, because they do not have a better project to finance today than Mobinil, he said.
The company is already financially very capable but this is a company, like any strong company in its domain, that would like to keep its options open.
Orascom is a regional player with operations in a number of African countries as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is, in turn, owned by Weather Investments, a holding company controlled by Orascom s chief executive, Naguib Sawiris, that also owns telecom firms operating in Greece and Italy. -Reuters