International law firm Bird & Bird has advised the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Albania’s largest institutional investor, and the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB), a new client of the firm, on their combined €100 million financing for Albtelecom Sh. A. - Albania’s largest fixed line telecoms operator which closed this week.
The debt financing package for Albtelecom consists of an A loan portion of €30 million for the EBRD’s own account and a B loan portion of €45 million to be funded by commercial banks (for which portion the joint mandated lead arrangers are UniCredit Markets & Investment Banking (Bank Austria Creditanstalt AG), Raiffeisen Zentralbank österreich AG (RZB) and Standard Bank Plc). In parallel to the ERBD facility, an additional €25 million will be provided by BSTDB.
Established in 1912 as a state-owned telecoms and postal services company in Albania, Albtelecom was privatised in 2007 and is currently the dominant fixed-line operator in the country.
Following the investment, Albtelecom will be able to offer new and better-quality services to its customers in Albania through upgrades and expansions to the existing fixed-line network infrastructure; the building by its subsidiary, Eagle Mobile, of a new mobile GSM network; and development of new broadband and data services.
The Bird & Bird Team was led by Andrew Hallgarth, assisted by Banking & Finance associates Oliver Irons and Chris Healy. They worked closely with Albanian law firm, Boga & Associates. Yüksel Küçük Karkın Law Firm (Turkey) and Zaka, Kosta & Tashko Law Firm (Albania) represented Albtelecom and the equity investors, Calik Group and Turk Telecom.
The deal builds on Bird & Bird’s substantial telecoms and privatisation experience gained in Central and Eastern Europe over the past 14 years. Examples of previous experience include: EBRD’s financing for the privatisation of BTC, the Bulgarian national telecoms company; advising Bank Austria Creditanstalt A.G., Citibank, N.A., EFG Eurobank and ING Bank in connection with the refinancing and mobile network roll out for BTC; privatisation of energy and steel facilities in FYR Macedonia; and project financing for media and telecoms networks in Hungary.
For more information please contact:
Derek Gilmour or Ben Girdlestone
Tel: +44(0)20 7415 6079 or +44(0)20 7982 6470
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Notes to Editors
About Bird & Bird
Bird & Bird is a full service international commercial law firm with offices in Beijing, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, The Hague, Helsinki, Hong Kong, London, Lyon, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome and Stockholm.
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