By Sandy Bhadare
Mobile technology group Africell has received a USD 105 million commercial loan facility to aid its African growth plans.
Africell, which has operations in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, holds its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. In the markets it currently operates in, Africell has more than 12 million subscribers.
The group of lenders consisted of both new and existing investors of Africell including Gramercy Funds Management, TC Credit Partners and funds advised by Helios Investment Partners. Gemcorp Capital anchored and structured the loan.
It follows Africell’s amendment and restating of a US$100 million investment from Washington, DC-headquartered United States International Development Finance Corporation, in May this year. The investment was initially agreed two years prior.
The two investments will help drive Africell’s expansion across Africa, including the refinancing of existing facilities, and its expansion in new and existing markets including its planned future launch in Angola.
The company was granted its universal electronic communications licence to operate in Angola in February this year. Africell hopes that its expansion into Angola will lead to the creation of thousands of employment opportunities in the coming years.
Africell’s chairman and CEO Ziad Dalloul said in a statement: “The commercial loan agreement represents a renewed long-term commitment between us and a group of outstanding strategic financing partners,” adding that it also “gives Africell Group the flexibility and firepower we need to achieve our commercial objectives in Africa”.
Gemcorp’s CEO Atanas Bostandjiev said that the commercial loan facility is the group’s third financing for Africell “and will allow the company to continue to grow its existing operations and support its expansion into Angola”, adding: “Supporting growth champions within the African telecoms space is core to our direct lending strategy.”