Report: Wind Italy launches refinancing of €1.8B loan after agreeing tower sale

Italy-based operator Wind launched a refinancing of its €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion) leveraged loans after reaching agreement on a sale of its tower subsidiary Galata to Spain's Abertis Telecom Terrestre, banking sources told Reuters on Friday.

Wind and parent company VimpelCom said on Mar. 2 that they had agreed the sale of 90 per cent of the shares in Wind's fully owned subsidiary Galata to Abertis Telecom Terrestre for a total cash consideration of €693 million. Galata operates 7,377 mobile towers together with the relevant functions, employees and related contracts, the companies said.

Abertis confirmed in early February that it had entered into exclusive talks with Wind Italy on the purchase of mobile towers; Wind and VimpelCom had previously announced plans to sell 11,000 of the Italian operator's towers.

The banking sources told Reuters that Wind would use about €500 million of the almost €700 million raised from the tower sale to pay down the €1.8 billion of term loans. Wind has confirmed that it would use proceeds from the transaction to repay debt. The remaining debt would then be refinanced through a new term loan and unsecured notes, the sources added.

Wind said the Galata transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, and would leave it with a minority 10 per cent stake in the company. Wind will also enter into a 15-year tower services agreement with Abertis.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this VimpelCom and Wind release on the Abertis deal

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