Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

Celtel Nigeria Ltd ("Celtel Nigeria") announced last week the signing and financial closure in Lagos and London of its US$1.43bn syndicated term loan facilities and US$189m bilateral facilities.

The facilities consist of a NGN125bn (US$984m) local-currency facility arranged by Celtel Nigeria, and a US$450m foreign-currency facility arranged and fully underwritten by Citibank, N.A. ("Citigroup"), which also was sole bookrunner. Huawei Technologies and UBA New York provided US$148.6m and US$40m, respectively, in bilateral financing.

The facilities will be used to refinance the company's existing debt and finance its network rollout programme.

Syndication of the facilities was highly successful: 13 Nigerian financial institutions (including 12 banks) joined the local-currency facility while 11 international banks joined the foreign-currency facility, resulting in oversubscription (over 50%) on both facilities and an upsizing of both from their initial amounts of US$670m (NGN equivalent) and US$350m, respectively. The heavy oversubscription of the foreign-currency facility meant that the syndicate was able to accommodate a substantial reduction (reverse flex) in the margin and commitment fees from the initially agreed terms.

The above, according to the company, is an indication of the international and domestic banking communities' strong support for MTC Group operating companies, and an endorsement of Celtel Nigeria's ambitious growth strategy.

Celtel Nigeria's legal advisers on the deal were Allen & Overy LLP (offshore) and Olaniwun Ajayi & Co (onshore), and the lenders were represented by Watson, Farley & Williams LLP (offshore) and The Law Union (onshore). Citibank International Plc is the global coordinating agent, First Trustees

Nigeria Limited is the security trustee, and First City Monument Bank Plc is the Nigerian administrative agent.

Using its new facilities, Celtel Nigeria will embark upon the next chapter of its groundbreaking history: namely the accelerated expansion of its already broad network, in order to bring the benefits of mobile communication to more of Nigeria's 140 million people on the back of its brand promise of "Making Life Better".

The facilities themselves are also innovative: syndication among foreign banks (especially of this size) is still uncommon in Nigeria outside the oil and gas sector. It is a vote of confidence in the country, even during this election period.

Daily Trust