The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) successfully closed a US$150 million financing facility for Econet Wireless Global Limited, Mauritius, to enable the company to fund its expansion programme.
Afreximbank, acted as global co-ordinator and mandated lead arranger while Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) was acting co-arranger, mobilising funding from European development finance institutions .
African financial institutions participating in the syndication include the Southern African Trade and Development Bank and Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe Limited. Econet will use the proceeds of the facility for the expansion of new business areas, such as its mobile banking and solar energy and refinancing existing debt relating to its mobile telecoms network infrastructure.
“The closing of this facility represents a clear demonstration of Afreximbank’s commitment to partnering with African and international financial institutions to support the growth of African multinationals,” said Jean Louis Ekra, President of Afreximbank, “Afreximbank is determined to continue working with leading African entities, like the Econet Group, which are making great strides in connecting Africa through their innovative telecommunications solutions and, enhancing intra-African trade, which is a cornerstone of the Bank’s mandate,” he said.
Econet Group chief executive Mr Craig Fitzgerald said, “Afreximbank has again shown its leadership in enabling the expansion of African companies by leading this syndication which will provide Econet with the ability to further expand its product ranges and footprint across the African continent.”
The new syndicated facility is part of a multi-creditor security sharing arrangement co-ordinated and arranged by Afreximbank, which closed in May 2012. Under the arrangement, Afreximbank, as global security agent, holds security for Econet’s various creditors, including the China Development Bank Corporation, Ericsson Credit AB and Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless Global, is undertaking a multi-million dollar expansion of its mobile money service, EcoCash, in response to dramatic and unexpected growth since September 2011.
The expansion will make the EcoCash system four times bigger than it is currently, and also pave the way for the company to launch additional services.