Etisalat signs €3.15B loan to fund Maroc Telecom buy

Etisalat said on Monday it has signed a €3.15 billion ($4.36 billion) facility with a group of 17 banks to fund the acquisition of Vivendi's 53 per stake in Maroc Telecom.

Reuters reported on Sunday that an Abu Dhabi state-owned fund would finance a quarter of the United Arab Emirates-based operator's €4.2 billion purchase, reducing Etisalat's funding to €3.5 billion. The deal is expected to close this week.

Under Morocco takeover rules, Etisalat would also be required to make a buyout offer to Maroc Telecom's minority shareholders: the government owns a 30 per cent stake while 17 per cent is in free float. Etisalat has not yet provided any details on this offer.

After initially competing for the Maroc Telecom stake with Ooredoo, Etisalat became the sole bidder by June 2013 after the Qatari operator withdrew its offer citing frustration with the process.

Vivendi entered into exclusive talks with Etisalat in July, but it took until November to sign a definitive agreement. Vivendi previously said it was confident the transaction would be completed by early 2014.

For Vivendi, the move forms part of its strategy to focus and strengthen its businesses around media and content activities. The group has also recently agreed the sale of its French telecoms unit SFR to Numericable and its parent company Altice.

Meanwhile Etisalat reported an 11 per cent rise in first-quarter profits as its revenue and subscriber base increased and capital expenditure and taxes declined, Reuters reported. Net profit reached 2 billion dirhams (€392 million/$544.5 million) in the first three months of the year, beating analyst forecasts.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this separate Reuters article
- see this Reuters article on Etisalat results

Related Articles:
Altice to buy Vivendi's SFR for €17B
Etisalat sees completion of Maroc Telecom stake by end-May
Vivendi to sell Maroc Telecom stake to Etisalat for €4.2B
Vivendi's telecoms exit plan hits a speed bump