eircom buyers agree debt financing package

17 Aug 2006

eircom’s new owners BCMIH, a consortium of Australian bank Babcock & Brown and eircom’s employees share ownership trust, or ESOT, have agreed the terms of a debt financing package to acquire the operator for EUR4 billion (USD5.1 billion); the deal is expected to be finalised tomorrow. Rob Topfer executive director of Babcock & Brown Capital said the group has worked out a ‘very attractive rating and debt package.’ The debt financing comprises EUR3.65 billion of senior secured facilities (including EUR150 million of undrawn revolving facility) and a EUR350 million senior floating rate note. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan are said to be managing the deal.

eircom advised its shareholders to accept Babcock & Brown’s offer for the company in May, ending months of speculation over its future. At the time, eircom executive chairman Anthony O’Reilly said the offer was ‘fair and reasonable and is in the best interests of ordinary shareholders.’ BCMIH plans to accelerate the rollout of broadband services and increase eircom’s market share in the mobile sector where its wireless arm Meteor has 625,000 subscribers, or 8% of the market, well behind Vodafone and O2.

Ireland, eir