Liquid successful in R9.4bn capital raise - TechCentral

Liquid successful in R9.4bn capital raise

Nic Rudnick

Liquid Telecom, the company that recently acquired South African telecommunications operator Neotel, said at the weekend that it has been successful in its new capital raising exercise, securing US$700 (about R9.4bn) in a bond and long-term financing package.

TechCentral first reported last month that Liquid, which is controlled by billionaire Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa’s Econet Global, planned to issue a $600m, five-year bond and would take a new, $100m bank loan. The company was advised by Standard Bank (lead adviser), with Standard Chartered and Citibank assisting.

Liquid Telecom, which raised the money through Liquid Telecommunications Financing, said the debut bond offering attracted strong interest from leading international markets.

“The group raised $550m in the international debt capital markets in its debut bond, in addition to a $150m term loan,” the company said in a statement.

“The successful pricing of the bond, which launched on 21 June, is a significant milestone for both the group and the wider African telecoms sector, which remains one of the least penetrated fixed and mobile Internet connectivity markets in the world,” it said.

CEO Nic Rudnick said he is “pleased with the strong support and interest” that Liquid Telecom received internationally. “We launched into a challenging market, and have attracted investors of high quality — many of whom are investing in African high-yield bonds for the first time. This is a significant achievement for an African tech company.”

Proceeds

The senior secured notes, due in 2022, will bear interest at a rate of 8.5%/year and will be guaranteed by Liquid Telecommunications Holdings and certain of its subsidiaries. The notes are expected to be issued on 13 July, subject to customary closing conditions.

The proceeds of the offering, together with the term-loan financing package, will be used for the refinancing of Liquid Telecom’s existing debt and general corporate purposes, Liquid said in the statement. The notes have been rated in line with Liquid Telecom’s corporate ratings of Ba3 (stable) by Moody’s, and B+ (stable) by Fitch.

“The funding will enable Liquid Telecom to further expand and enhance its pan-African fibre network — the largest of its kind in the region — and support its vision for a more connected Africa. Through organic growth and acquisition, Liquid Telecom has built over 50 000km of fibre connecting nine countries in the region, and currently serves over 113 000 enterprise, carrier and retail customers,” it said in the statement. — © 2017 NewsCentral Media

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