Citic Telecom plans US bond sale to help pay for CTM buyout | South China Morning Post
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Citic Telecom plans US bond sale to help pay for CTM buyout

Company's shares rise to near six-year high as it taps bond market to help finance the buyout of Macau telecoms network operator

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 6:33am

Citic Telecom International, a subsidiary of conglomerate Citic Pacific, plans to embark on a US dollar-denominated bond issue to help finance its takeover of Macau's main telecommunications network operator.

Shares of Citic Telecom rose 6.72 per cent to finish at a near six-year high of HK$2.86 yesterday. That was the stock's highest close since it reached HK$2.91 on April 25, 2007.

In a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday, Citic Telecom chairman Xin Yuejiang said the company had hired Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UBS as joint bookrunners and joint lead managers for the proposed bond sale.

The amount and terms of the offering have yet to be determined.

Citic Telecom last month reached an agreement with Sable, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cable & Wireless Communications, and the Portugal Telecom group of companies to buy their entire 79 per cent interest in Companhia de Telecomunicacoes de Macau (CTM) for US$1.16 billion in cash.

The buyout will increase Citic Telecom's stake in CTM to 99 per cent from 20 per cent.

The company expects to complete its takeover of CTM in the second half of this year.

Citic Telecom said it intended to apply to the stock exchange for the listing and permission to deal in the proposed bonds to professional investors only.

The stock exchange has confirmed that Citic Telecom and its proposed debt securities are eligible for listing.

The net proceeds of Citic Telecom's proposed bond issue are intended to be initially deposited into an escrow account and be used to help pay for that acquisition.

As such, the company said it might reduce the amount to be drawn down from existing loan facilities.

Last month, the company secured US$1.16 billion in total loans from eight banks to cover the CTM buyout.

"US$200 million will be in [the form of] a one-year loan, while the rest are all five-year loans," said David Chan Tin-wai, the chief financial officer at Citic Telecom.

Chan added that the interest rates for the loans were "below 5 per cent".

Established in 1981, CTM provides mobile, fixed-line and broadband services in Macau. It is also a major supplier of telecommunications-related services to businesses in the world's largest casino market.

Citic Telecom earlier this month reported net profit rose to HK$461.3 million last year from HK$458.2 million in 2011.

Revenue grew 12.9 per cent to HK$3.61 billion, compared with HK$3.2 billion previously.

Total dividend per share last year was unchanged at 9.6 HK cents.

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