Etisalat selects banks for bond issue; network sharing expected by year-end

28 May 2014

Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (more commonly known as Etisalat) has mandated banks to organise a series of fixed income investor meetings ahead of a potential bond issue. Reuters cites unnamed sources as saying that the UAE telco chose Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland to arrange the offering. Etisalat, which earlier this month bought a 53% stake in Maroc Telecom from France’s Vivendi for EUR4.14 billion (USD5.65 billion), said the meetings will be held in the UAE, Asia and Europe from 1 June.

In a separate report, Reuters writes that Etisalat expects to conclude a long-delayed network sharing deal with sole rival Du by the end of the year, according to the firm’s bond prospectus. A network sharing agreement would break the monopolies held by the pair within their respective areas by giving consumers nationwide the choice of operator for their fixed line voice and broadband services. A trial bitstream service with selected customers was launched in July 2011, but despite beginning negotiations in 2009, Etisalat and Du have been unable to reach an agreement on the matter.

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