Cash-strapped cellco Zain Saudi Arabia, an affiliate of Kuwait’s Zain Group, has extended the repayment period of a SAR9.0 billion (USD2.4 billion) facility until 26 June 2018, the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) reports. The Sharia-compliant cost-plus-profit (Murabaha) loan was originally due to be squared in 2011, but has been reimbursed numerous times since then. According to the latest announcement, the loan has been restructured as an amortizing facility, 25% of which will be due during years four and five, with the remainder payable at the maturity date. Zain Saudi has already squared a fraction of the facility and the current outstanding principal stands at SAR8.63 billion. The loan was provided by several banks, including Al Rajhi Bank (ARB), Arab National Bank (ANB), Bank Saudi Fransi (BSF), Boubyan Bank, Credit Agricole CIB (CACIB), Gulf Bank (Kuwait), National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) and Saudi British Bank, with ARB, ANB, BSF and CACIB acting as bookrunners.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in June 2013 Zain Saudi reached an agreement with the Saudi Ministry of Finance to defer the payment of licence-related levies, estimated at SAR56 billion over a seven-year period. The chairman of the board of directors of Zain Saudi, Fahd bin Ibrahim Al-Deghaither, said that the agreement would contribute to a provision of greater liquidity and would be used to reduce a portion of the company’s liabilities. The cash-strapped cellco also managed to secure a SAR2.25 billion three-year borrowing facility, guaranteed by Zain Group.