Chinese bank and Huawei boost Polish mobile operator

China Development Bank is lend to start-up  Polish mobile operator Play €640m (US$993m).  This is believed to be the bank's first foray into eastern Europe, which is growing rapidly.

In total, Play is receiving a €1.1bn boost in a deal that also involves Huawei.

According to the Financial Times, Play is 75 per cent owned by Novator, an investment group controlled by Icelandic entrepreneur Thor Bjorgolfsson, who has multiple telecoms interests in Europe.

Panos Germanos, a Greek businessman, owns the outstanding 25%. As part of the refinancing deal, the duo will commit €460 million of equity funding.

The CDB loan is a ten year debt facility with the option of extending it for a further three years.

Play has acquired 1.4 million customers since it went live 16 months ago and is Poland's fourth largest mobile network provider.

Huawei is to upgrade Play's infrastructure and demonstrates the equipment maker's creative approach to winning business in Europe against native and US giants such as Nokia Siemens Networks, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent.

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