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IFC’s International Bank Lending Catalytic Role in $395 Million Syndicated Loan to MTN Nigeria Scoops “Africa Telecoms Deal of the Year” Award


In Washington:
Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone: +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C./LONDON, March 5, 2004 — The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, received the “Africa Telecoms Deal of the Year” award at Euromoney’s Project Finance Magazine 4th Annual Awards Dinner at the Millennium Hotel, London, for its key role in a $395 million syndicated loan to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTNN), the country’s leading operator, announced on November, 21, 2003; IFC contributed $100 million to the financing package – one of its largest ever investments in the telecommunications sector, and the corporation’s second largest investment in Africa so far.

The Project Finance (
http://www.projectfinancemagazine.com) award for IFC’s – international and local bank lending - catalyzing role in the MTNN financing package represents a dual accolade to its Sub-Saharan Africa and Global Information & Communications Technologies departments. Project Finance said the award reflected that “The IFC part of the loan helped encourage other international lenders to provide the largest ever local currency debt facility Nigeria has seen – 10 times as big as its closest comparable deal.”  Project Finance added, “Another key factor that swayed the Africa Telecoms Deal of the Year award to IFC is that its pivotal presence in the loan helped deepen local capital markets by catalyzing the largest non-natural resource financing ever seen in Africa.”

Haydee Celaya, IFC Director for Africa, noted that the Project Finance award for IFC’s catalytic role in the financing package, which MTN is using to expand and improve its network in Nigeria, was “all the more satisfying because the MTNN transaction fitted so well with IFC’s strategy for Nigeria anyway, namely, it facilitated private participation in key areas of infrastructure, spurred financial sector deepening, and has supported the government’s reform of the telecommunications sector.”


Note to Editors
: Aside from IFC senior ‘A’ loans, the $395 million financing package to MTNN comprised a domestic currency syndicate of Nigerian banks, and parallel loans from Standard Chartered Merchant Bank, DEG and FMO. Citigroup (London) and Standard Bank (London) arranged the total financing package to support MTN Nigeria’s $1.3 billion capital expenditure program. MTN Nigeria is part of MTN Group (
www.mtngroup.com), one of Africa’s leading cellular network operators, which now has more than 5 million subscribers in South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Rwanda, and Swaziland.

In February 2001, MTN Nigeria was awarded a 15-year GSM license through an open auction process and launched its service in August 2001. The company now provides coverage to 56 cities and over 1,000 villages and communities spanning all of Nigeria’s six geopolitical regions. Owing to robust demand for telecommunication services, MTN Nigeria achieved a total of more than one million subscribers within less than two years. For more details on IFC’s $100 million investment in the $395 million financing package to MTN Nigeria see:

(
IFC Invests $100 Million in Nigerian Cellular Operator)

IFC’s strategic priorities in Nigeria include assisting small businesses by providing technical assistance and financing; assisting the non-oil sector, especially in financial restructuring and expanding non-traditional exports, enhancing the domestic financial sector by providing resources to commercial banks for medium-term lending; introducing new financial products to enhance the development of local capital markets; and promoting privatization and private investments in infrastructure services. Since its first investment in 1956, IFC has committed financing to projects in Nigeria amounting to $181 million as of FY 2003 – the largest country portfolio in Africa.


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.