Saudi Telecom’s Indonesian Subsidiary Completes USD 1.2 Billion Financing
AXIS, the Indonesian subsidiary of Saudi Telecom Company announced on 23 May 2011, the signing of a USD 1.2 billion financing deal with a tenor of 7.5 years with local and international financial institutions. The deal comprises three facilities: a USD450 million Murabaha commercial facility, arranged by Deutsche Bank and HSBC and underwritten by Deutsche Bank and Saudi British Bank (SABB); a USD400 million facility for equipment purchases from Huawei, underwritten by China Development Bank; and a USD350 million facility for equipment purchases from Ericsson, arranged by HSBC and backed by EKN, the Swedish Export Credit Agency. All facilities have been structured in a sharia compliant manner.
This financing will help fund AXIS’ expansion and growth strategies for the next five years, especially expansion into mobile broadband and improved coverage nationwide, which in turn will result in higher financial returns for the Group. The Indonesian telecom sector has witnessed sound growth over the past few years owing to the rising mobile and internet penetration rates, which have had a positive impact on AXIS, with the company passing 11 million subscribers and with service available in more than 400 cities across Indonesia.
Announcing the financing deal and its structure, Ameen Al Shiddi, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Saudi Telecom Company highlighted the significance of this deal saying, “This deal is one of the largest Islamic financing deals in Asia and one of the largest international financing deals in East Asia. This financing will help fund AXIS’ expansion and growth strategies for the next five years, which in turn will result in higher financial returns for the Group.”
Al Shiddi added, “The size of the financing deal demonstrates the confidence that the financial markets have in the ability of AXIS to achieve its business goals. The involvement of different financial institutions and vendors is a clear indication of the strong and long-term partnerships that exist between these organizations and STC.”
Ghassan Hasbani, Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Telecom International Operations said, “The Indonesian telecom sector has witnessed sound growth over the past few years owing to the rising mobile and internet penetration rates. The growth of our international operations has had a major impact on the Group’s overall revenues. This financing deal will enable AXIS to increase its broadband services offering to customers thereby tapping into the tremendous growth potential that exists in a highly competitive market.”
The country has been experiencing strong economic growth with average annual GDP growth of 5 percent from 2000 until 2010. Citing improvements in the nation’s economic performance and political stability, Standard & Poor’s international rating agency recently upgraded Indonesia’s BB rating to BB+ with a positive outlook. Indonesia’s economy expanded 6.5% percent in the first quarter of 2011 from a year ago, and as per the recent estimates of the central bank, foreign direct investment is expected to surge 42% this year. The Government is also facilitating growth in key sectors by boosting foreign investment.
Erik Aas, Chief Executive Officer of AXIS added, “Indonesia’s telecom industry is fast-growing and extremely dynamic with mobile broadband usage constantly on the rise. 50% of Indonesia’s population is below 30 years old, and the whole population is adopting social networking applications on their mobile phones.”
AXIS CEO further added, “With this funding milestone in place, AXIS is well set for its expansion into mobile broadband and improved coverage nationwide. This financing will fully support our expansion plans for the next few years, and we are well prepared to further grow our market share and revenues.”
First launched its service in April 2008, the company provides 2G, 3G and BlackBerry services nationwide and internationally. Within only three years of its operations AXIS has 80% population coverage with service available in more than 400 cities spreading from Sumatera, Java, Bali, Lombok, Kalimantan and Sulawesi. The company has passed 11 million subscribers who are served through more than 120,000 retail outlets, and doubled its revenues from 2009 to 2010. In recognition of its achievement for 2010 in terms of growth and expansion of its customer base, AXIS received Best Growth Story of the Year from TMT Finance & Investment Middle East Awards. The company has also recently won two prestigious Selular Awards in 2011 in “The Best Marketing Program” and “The Best Mobile Data Service for GSM” categories.
About Saudi Telecom Company
STC is a leading integrated telecommunications operator with operations spanning across the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Since the launch of its mobile services in the Saudi market in 1998, STC has led a significant growth in the telecommunications market through offering a myriad of attractive fixed line, mobile 2G & 3G, satellite, data, internet, content and international telecommunication services to all customer segments.
In 2007, STC has started its transformation from being a local operator to being one of the large international integrated communication companies. The company has now foot print in Kuwait, Bahrain India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey and South Africa.
STC Group currently serves more than 116 million mobile and fixed line subscribers. In 2010 STC Group generated $13.7 Billion (SAR 51.7 billion) in revenue and $2.5 billion (SAR 9.44 billion) in net income.