Cape Town, South Africa, June 13, 2007—IFC,
the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced that it
will provide financing to five subsidiaries of Celtel International B.V.
to help expand and upgrade the company’s fast-growing mobile networks
in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Sierra Leone,
and Uganda. The $320 million investment package, IFC’s largest financing
to date in Sub-Saharan Africa, will result in better quality mobile access
in countries with extremely limited telephone services, creating new opportunities
for businesses and consumers across the economic spectrum.
IFC will provide a $160 million loan
for its own account, and an additional $160 million in syndicated loans
with participating commercial banks and parallel loans from bilateral financial
institutions. The transaction also marks the first-ever mobilization of
IFC syndicated loans in Madagascar, Malawi, and Sierra Leone, helping bring
long-term commercial financing to markets at the frontier of private sector
development. The syndication includes three South African banks that are
participating in IFC’s syndications program for the first time.
Celtel, which was acquired by MTC of
Kuwait in 2005, will use the funds to modernize and develop the mobile
networks in countries with obsolete and inadequate fixed-line networks
and low telephone penetration rates, ranging from just over four phones
for every 100 people in Malawi and Madagascar to about 10 per 100 people
in Sierra Leone.
“Investment in infrastructure such
as telecommunications is crucial for Africa’s economic development, and
our long-term collaboration with IFC shows that the private sector can
play an important role in fulfilling that need,” said Mo Ibrahim, Celtel’s
Over the past decade, IFC's clients
have enabled 80 million subscribers to gain access to the telephone globally.
“Infrastructure is one of the key bottlenecks and principal reason
for the high cost of doing business in Africa, which is a hindrance to
economic competitiveness,” said Edward Nassim, IFC Vice President for
Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. “The expansion of mobile telephone
services to underserved areas will help create a more favorable environment
for businesses to operate, creating jobs and contributing to poverty reduction.”
“Since our first cellular investment
in the former Zaire in 1989, we have continued to invest heavily in the
sector in Africa and to strengthen our partnership with companies like
Celtel,” said Mohsen Khalil, World Bank Group Director for Global Information
and Communication Technologies. “Africa is now the fastest-growing cellular
market, leading the world with innovative service offerings, such as Celtel’s
borderless free roaming across six countries.”
IFC’s relationship with Celtel dates
back to 1994, with a series of investments in the holding company and its
operating subsidiaries. These investments have contributed to the region’s
dramatic growth in mobile phone penetration levels, increased competition,
and reduced tariffs.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.
IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners
in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people
have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06,
IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for
private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications
for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services
and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support
to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure,
to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance,
and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information,
please visit www.ifc.org.
Celtel is the most successful pan-African
mobile network, offering telecommunications services to more people in
Africa than any other network. The company is one of the best-known branded
businesses in Africa with mobile licenses covering more than 400 million
people, close to half of Africa’s population. Under the brand promise
of ‘Making Life Better’, the company is committed to achieving sustainable
development of telecommunications in Africa. Celtel has more than 20 million
customers and operates mobile cellular operations in 14 countries: Burkina
Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi,
Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
For more information please visit www.celtel.com.
Celtel is owned by MTC, a leading provider
of mobile telecommunications in the Middle East and Africa with 21 operations
making it the 4th largest mobile company in the world in geographical footprint.
MTC employs 13,000 people provides a comprehensive range of mobile voice
and data services to over 29.7 million active individual and business customers.
The company is in Kuwait and Bahrain as mtc-vodafone, in Jordan as Fastlink,
in Iraq as mtc-atheer, in Lebanon as mtc-touch and in Sudan, under the
brand name of ‘Mobitel’. MTC will launch operations in the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia in early 2008.
The Mobile Telecommunications Company
KSC (the parent company) is a Kuwaiti shareholding company and its shares
are traded on the Kuwait Stock Exchange. The company’s market capitalisation
at 1 June, 2007 exceeded US$ 28 billion. For more information please visit
Note: All currency in US dollars
unless otherwise specified.