Smile at owners, lenders agree on refinance plan

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

Shareholders of Smile Telecoms Holdings have agreed to a refinancing plan that can see majority proprietor Al Nahla Group commit $ 51 million in new capital.

The South Africa-based telecommunications firm, which operates in Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo and Nigeria, had been threatened by a disagreement between two majority shareholders – Saudi Arabia’s Al Nahla group and the corporate South African public funding – after failing to agree on a put possibility, thus exposing the corporate to liquidation.

The shortcoming to agree on the put possibility, which supplies the controlling shareholder the fitting to promote a specified quantity of an underlying safety, final week pressured the Uganda Communications Fee to watch the operations of Smile Uganda with a view to shield occasion from any eventuality.

Nonetheless, in an emailed assertion to Day by day Monitor, Ms Nicolene van Zyl, head of communications and advertising and marketing at Smile Telecoms Holdings, mentioned the restructuring plan, which was introduced in January, had been accredited and agreed with the lenders.

“The brand new injection of $ 51 million in operations funding will additional strengthen Smile’s place in its respective markets and enhance Smile’s operations and assist efforts to attain higher efficiency,” she mentioned, noting that the reimbursement of the debt can be rescheduled till after March 2022.

Nonetheless, the assertion didn’t point out whether or not the 2 shareholders had agreed to Al Nahla’s request for Public Funding Company to agree on the choice of promoting its stake to different shareholders for $ 45 million. {dollars}.

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The proposal, which had been a degree of competition, had been made as a situation for Al Nahla to inject the $ 51 million at the same time as Public Funding Company had mentioned that whereas it supported the restructuring plan, it nonetheless dedicated shareholders. of Smile to search out methods to do it. preserving worth for its clients.

The dispute threatened almost $ 250 million in loans because of Smile Telecoms being held in each fairness and industrial financial institution loans.

Bloomberg reported final week that in 2015, Smile raised $ 365 million in capital, together with $ 50 million in fairness from Public Funding Company, whereas $ 315 million was a multi-stake facility from the African Financial institution of import-export, Growth Financial institution of Southern Africa, Diamond Financial institution. PLC, Ecobank Nigeria, Industrial Growth Firm and Customary Chartered Financial institution.

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