The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has received the Africa Telecoms Deal of the Year award, at Euromoney’s Project Finance magazine’s fourth annual awards dinner, held in London, for its key role in a $395-million syndicated loan to service provider MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN), the country’s leading operator.
The IFC reportedly contributed $100-million to the financing package – one of its largest investments in the telecommunications sector, and the corporation’s second-largest investment in Africa so far.
Project Finance said the award reflected that “the IFC part of the loan helped encourage other international lenders to provide the largest ever local currency debt facility Nigeria has seen – ten times as big as its closest comparable deal”.
“Another key factor that swayed the Africa Telecoms Deal of the Year award to the IFC is that it’s pivotal presence in the loan helped deepen local capital markets by catalysing the largest non-natural resource financing ever seen in Africa,” Project Finance added.
IFC director for Africa Haydee Celaya noted that the Project Finance award for IFC’s catalytic role in the financing package, which MTN is using to expand and improve its network in Nigeria, was “all the more satisfying because the MTNN transaction fitted so well with IFC’s strategy for Nigeria anyway, namely, it facilitated private participation in key areas of infrastructure, spurred financial sector deepening, and has supported the government’s reform of the telecommunications sector”.
The $395-million financing package to MTNN reportedly comprised a domestic currency syndicate of Nigerian banks and parallel loans from Standard Chartered Merchant Bank, DEG and FMO.