RJIL issues NCDs to raise Rs 20 billion (India)

Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited (RJIL) has raised Rs 20 billion by issuing five-year, non-convertible debentures (NCDs) through the electronic bidding platform route. The NCDs bear a coupon of 8.32 per cent per annum to be paid annually. Research firms CRISIL and ICRA have assigned an AAA rating to the issue. The proceeds from the issuance will be utilised by RJIL to roll out its digital services business in India.

Hike Messenger raises over $175 million

Messaging application service provider Hike Messenger has raised over $175 million in the latest round of funding led by Tencent Holdings and the Foxconn Tech­no­logy Group. The company’s existing investors, Tiger, Bharti Enterprises and the Softbank Group, also participated in this round. Hike has so far received about $250 million in four rounds of funding. The company will use the proceeds for future expansion and invest in areas that are important for its long-term success.

SingTel increases stake in Bharti Airtel

Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) is planning to acquire Temasek’s 7.39 per cent stake in Bharti Telecom, Bharti Airtel’s holding company, for over Rs 44 billion. Post acquisition, SingTel’s direct and indirect (through Bharti Telecom) holding in Bharti Airtel will go up by 3.3 per cent from the existing 32.9 per cent to 36.2 per cent. The investment in Bharti Airtel is a part of SingTel’s $1.8 billion com­mitment to consolidate its position in the Indian telecom company.

RIL to increase equity in RJIL through a rights issue

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has decided to increase its equity in RJIL from Rs 450 billion to Rs 600 billion by way of a rights issue. So far, RIL has spent Rs 1.34 trillion on RJIL, which was funded by a combination of equity (Rs 450 billion), debt (Rs 470 billion), vendor financing (Rs 280 billion) and deferred spectrum payments (Rs 140 billion). This has helped RJIL in building and expanding its optic fibre cable and tower networks. The new fund infusion will allow RJIL to extend its reach to 90 per cent of the country from the current 70 per cent.

Zain Saudi Arabia signs SAR 2.25 billion borrowing facility (Saudi Arabia)

Zain Saudi Arabia has signed a long-term commercial borrowing facility worth SAR 2.25 billion with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. It has a two-year tenor that is extendable by one year, until August 8, 2019. The new facility replaces an existing syndicated facility, which was led by the Arab National Bank and saw participation from Banque Saudi Fransi, the Gulf International Bank and the Samba Financial Group. The proceeds of the new facility will be used to repay a commercial loan signed by the company in June 2016.

Etisalat sells its stake in Canar (Sudan)

UAE-based Etisalat has announced the completion of the sale of its 92.3 per cent stake in Sudan-based fixed line operator Canar Telecommunication Company to the Bank of Khartoum. The final consideration received for its shareholding amounts to $95.2 million. The transaction was finalised after securing all regulatory approvals from Sudanese regulator the National Telecommunications Cor­p­o­ra­tion as well as from the country’s competition authorities. Etisalat had signed a share purchase agreement with Kuwait-based Zain Group for the sale of its 92.3 per cent stake in Canar Telecommuni­cation in May 2016. However, a month later, the Bank of Khartoum, which holds a 3.7 per cent stake in Canar Telecommu­nication, exercised its right of first refusal regarding the sale to the Zain Group.

MTS exits Uzbekistan by offloading stake in UMS to the government (Uzbekistan)

Russia-based MTS has sold its 50.01 per cent stake in Uzbekistan’s telecom oper­ator, Universal Mobile Systems (UMS) to the Uzbek government for an undisclosed sum. MTS first entered the Uzbek telecom market in 2004 and faced several regu­latory and operational challenges in the country. As a result, it had to shut down its operations in 2012. Later, in 2014, it signed a deal with the government to re-enter the market through a joint venture with the state.

OCK Group to acquire Vietnam’s SEATH for $50 million in an all-cash deal (Vietnam)

OCK Vietnam Towers, a partly owned subsidiary of Malaysia-based OCK Group Berhad has announced its plans to acquire Viet­nam’s largest independent telecom tower company, Southeast Asia Telecom­munications Holdings (SEATH), for $50 million in an all-cash deal. OCK Vietnam is 60 per cent owned by the OCK Group, while the remaining 40 per cent stake is held by CapAsia, a private equity fund. In order to finance the acquisition, the companies together will have to disburse $20 million from internal funds while the balance would be in the form of bank loans. SEATH has a portfolio of 1,938 telecom tower sites across Vietnam.