Baghdad, Iraq, March 1, 2011—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is supporting economic growth and expanded
access to telecommunications services in Iraq through a landmark $400 million,
seven-year debt facility for Zain Iraq, the country’s largest mobile phone
The long-term debt facility will help Zain Iraq expand service coverage
and improve telecommunications quality throughout Iraq, help unlock opportunities
for entrepreneurship and innovation, and increase employment in a key,
non-oil industry. Zain Iraq is a subsidiary of Kuwait-based Zain Group,
a longtime IFC partner.
Zain Group CEO, Nabeel Bin Salamah, said, “This debt facility is an enormous
vote of confidence by IFC in Zain Iraq’s performance to date and its future
expansion plans in a diverse and promising economy. The financing comes
at a vital stage of the mobile operations business growth cycle as it expands
to serve a relatively low-penetrated, yet high-potential mobile market."
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Director for the Middle East, North Africa and
Southern Europe, said, “For conflict-affected countries such as Iraq,
where the movement of people and goods is complicated, access to reliable,
high-quality voice and data services is key for economic activity and for
personal and family safety. This facility demonstrates IFC’s commitment
to supporting economic integration by facilitating cross-border investments
within the region.”
Over the last four months, with the strong support of Zain Iraq, IFC mobilized
the $400 million debt facility, which consists of an IFC A loan of $155
million, a $50 million B loan committed by Ahli United Bank, and four syndicated
parallel loans totaling $195 million by Proparco, Infrastructure Crisis
Facility, DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH,
and FMO (Netherlands Development Finance Company).
IFC brought together the commercial bank syndication market and the development
finance community to provide access to different sources of financing for
Zain Iraq and to help promote the development of a syndicated loan market
Zain Iraq has over 50 percent of the country’s mobile phone market by
customer market share and is majority owned by Zain Group, a pioneer in
delivering high-quality and innovative communications services in the Middle
East and North Africa (MENA).
The company expects to add over 4 million Iraqi mobile users over the next
5 years, growing its customer base to close to 20 million subscribers in
a country that has one of the lowest mobile penetration rates in the region.
Many of these users are expected to come from some of Iraq’s poorest governorates,
including Al-Anbar, Diala and Salahuddin.
IFC’s other investments in Iraq-based firms and MENA firms undertaking
projects in Iraq total $173 million, and include equity stakes in two banks
and a cement producer, as well as loans for port and hotel construction.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create
opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do
so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply
essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering
advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global
economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion
in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About Zain Iraq
Zain Iraq is a subsidiary of Zain Group, a leading telecommunications operator
across the Middle East providing mobile voice and data services to over
35.3 million active customers as at 30 September 2010 with a commercial
presence in 7 countries. Zain operates in the following countries: Bahrain,
Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. In Lebanon, the company manages
‘mtc-touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain has a 15.5%
stake in Wana Telecom, now branded ‘INWI’, through a joint venture. Zain
is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (stock ticker: ZAIN) with a market
capitalization of KWD 5.9 billion (US $21 billion) as at February 28, 2011.
For more information, please visit http://www.zain.com
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org