Qtel repays US$3 billion loan facility ahead of Wataniya takeover

QtelQatar Telecom (Qtel), the state-owned operator that has been planning a full takeover of Kuwaiti operator Wataniya, has repaid a US$3 billion loan facility

The five-year syndicated term loan was signed in August 2007 through bookrunners Barclays, BNP Paribas, DBS and RBS and was priced at 65 basis points over the London interbank offered rate (Libor), according to Reuters. It has now paid the loan off using existing funds, the firm said in a bourse statement.

Meanwhile, Wataniya Telecom has announced that the offer made by Qatar Telecom (Qtel) for the acquisition of its shares at US$9.21 per share is appropriate to shareholders interested in accepting the offer.

Wataniya's management endorsed the findings of the report of the independent investment advisor Protiviti and, in a statement, said it had agreed that the offer was fair.

In January, Qtel said in a capital markets presentation that its issue of US$2.75bn in bonds in 2010 preemptively addressed the refinancing of the US$3bn 2012 loan.

Qtel, which operates in 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, is presently in the midst of talks to acquire the remaining 47.5 per cent stake it does not already own in Kuwaiti telecom company Wataniya for US$2.2bn, as the state-owned operator eyes acquisitions to ward off threats from rivals.

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