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IFC SIGNS US$38 MILLION DEAL FOR JORDAN'S TELECOM SECTOR


Amy Conran
Phone: (202) 473-9119
Fax: (202) 676-0365


WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced that it signed financing agreements yesterday for US$38 million with Jordan Mobile Telephone Services Company Limited (JMTS). JMTS will develop, install, and operate a nationwide digital cellular GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network in Jordan to fulfill the country's high demand for mobile telephone services. JMTS was awarded a 15-year license by the Jordanian government in a competitive bid. This joint venture company was established by a group of Jordanian private investors, including Pioneers for Investment led by the Abu Jaber Group; MID Investment and Trade; Union Bank; Arab Banking Corporation; and Housing Bank. Motorola Incorporated is the technical partner and operator. The total project cost is estimated at US$85 million. IFC has arranged a financing package totalling US$38 million, consisting of US$18 million for IFC's own account and a syndicated loan of up to US$20 million for the account of participant b
anks. The planned IFC syndication will be the first such placement with international commercial banks for a private Jordanian company since the late 1970s. This project is the result of a two-year joint effort and close cooperation between the Jordanian government and IFC. With the assistance of Finnish trust funds arranged by IFC, independent consultants were hired to carry out a study of the cellular market in Jordan. The consultants also advised the government on how to structure the bidding for the GSM license in order to meet the government's goal of providing the best service at a reasonable cost to consumers. The IFC initiative is consistent with the World Bank Group's efforts to help the government liberalize and attract private capital to the telecommunications sector in Jordan. The government has taken major steps in this regard exemplified by the recent enactment of a new telecommunications law and the establishment of an independent regulatory authority. These actions, together with other sector
reforms, should create an environment which supports private participation in the development of the country's telecommunications infrastructure. (more) Press Release No. 96/46, page 2 of 2 The World Bank has backed the recent successful launch of a 7-year, US$50 million Eurobond issue by Jordan Telecommunications Corporation (TCC). This innovative program allowed TCC to access private debt capital for the first time on attractive terms through a market which otherwise would have been closed to it. The signing coincided with the Middle Eastern Economic Summit (October 29-30) in Amman. At the signing, Wilfried Kaffenberger, Vice President of IFC, said, "The Jordanian government has made great strides in expanding, modernizing, and improving the efficiency of Jordan's telecommunications infrastructure. This project will provide Jordanian consumers with the latest in cellular technology, facilitating communications with the rest of the Middle East and improving the telecommunications infrastructure needed for a
growing economy." IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries.