Thursday 14 December 2017

AIB and BoI join Digicel lender syndicate

Denis O'Brien, founder and chairman of Digicel
Denis O'Brien, founder and chairman of Digicel
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Both AIB and Bank of Ireland are among the syndicate of 10 lenders that backed Digicel's $1.25bn (€1.1bn) refinancing in May.

Strong demand for the loans allowed Digicel to increase the amount it borrowed on the markets, and to extend its overall debt maturity profile at lower-than-expected costs.

The deal, by Digicel's International Finance subsidiary, saw a planned refinancing of $935m of term loans increased to $1.25bn.

Citi and JPMorgan were bookrunners on the deal, with Barclays, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank acting as mandated lead arrangers.

According to Latin Finance - a financial markets intelligence service covering Latin American markets - AIB, Bank of Ireland, Butterfield Bank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Export Development Canada also joined the syndicate. The banks' individual investments are likely to run to tens, if not hundreds, of millions each.

The refinancing was launched by Digicel primarily to replace $856m of secured loans falling due between March 2018 and March 2019 with longer-term debt.

Extra funds raised will go to repay $250m of senior bonds that carry a 7pc interest rate and fell due in early 2020.

The deal will reduce Digicel's interest bill and push its next substantial debt repayment deadline out to late 2020.

It also shifts more of the Denis O'Brien-owned telecom and communications services group's debt from the public bond market to the private loan market.

Irish Independent

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