Airtel Africa Plc has announced that it has successfully secured a new credit facility worth $500million from a consortium of leading banks that comprises of HSBC, JP Morgan, Standard Chartered etc., in its bid to partially refinance its €750million Euro dominated bond due on the 20th of May, 2021.
According to a notification signed by the Group Company’s Secretary, Simon O’Hara and seen by Naijabusiness.com.ng, the new facility consists of a mix of credit and term loans with tenor of up to 4 years and prepayment flexibilities that will allow the Group to leverage on its capital structure, especially with respect to its free cash flows and cash receipts expected in the next 12 months from its recent deals such as its Towers and MasterCard agreements.
Recall that MasterCard had earlier announced plans to invest about $100 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV). This is sequel to an earlier announcement by the telecommunications giant to sell its telecommunications tower companies in Madagascar and Malawi to Helios Tower Plc for a gross value of about $93.7million.
The cash flow that will be generated from these deals coupled with the recent loan facility will enable Airtel to refinance its bond commitments of €750million (c. $880million). The decision to refinance the bond with a mix of the new credit facility and the existing Group cash is to reduce gross debt and associated interest charges.
The banks which participated in the new credit facility include a diverse group of existing global relationship banks, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Citibank, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Standard Chartered Bank and two Indian relationship banks (Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank).
Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries in Africa, majorly in East, Central and West Africa. It provides an integrated suite of telecommunications solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally. The company is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (Primary) and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (Cross Border Secondary Listing).