Etisalat takes a new major stride towards bond concern  

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Etisalat informed the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange that it had mandated banks to manage a series of fixed income investor meetings in the UAE, Asia and Europe, to start on June 1.

Etisalat takes a new major stride towards bond concern  

Etisalat takes a new major stride towards bond concern

Four banks including HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Goldman Sachs International are thought to be arranging the meetings.

Etisalat has been expected to issue bonds to fund part of its €4.2 billion ($5.85 billion) acquisition of a 53% share in Morocco’s Maroc Telecom from Vivendi, a deal which was fulfilled this month of May.

The company has said that it raised €2.1 billion from 17 local and global banks as a one-year bridging loan for the purchase. This part is expected to be refinanced by the bond concern. In the meantime, etisalat may conclude a long-delayed agreement to let rivalry in UAE fixed-line telecommunications services by the end of 2014.

Etisalat and du have been incapable to arrive at an agreement over so-called bitstream access or network-sharing.

But now a company bond brochure avers that etisalat expects that the bitstream way in service will be commenced by the end of 2014.

Etisalat has blamed a current drop in fixed-line average profits on people choosing to use Internet-based phone calls, or voice-over Internet protocol, or VoIP.

Etisalat states it faces rivalry from illegal and unlicensed VoIP services accessible in the UAE allowing fixed-line and mobile phone calls at very low charges or with no cost.

Mohamed Dekkak