Tuesday, 26 April 2011

FRiENDi GROUP's USD 25 million for growth

The Middle-East's perhaps most prominent MVNO has found funding to keep rolling out its regional MVNO plans. FRiENDi targets immigrant work forces who are being used to build the vast engineering projects across the region; from rapid growth of high rise towers through to the Palm Islands. Many markets have seen a contraction of immigrant work forces following the tightening of global finances, this will perhaps be the biggest factor limiting FRiENDi's march.

FRiENDi GROUP has secured USD 25 million of new funding to further accelerate expansion plans across the Middle East, Africa and Asia region - Press release - FRiENDi Group (April 26, 2011)

The new funding for FRiENDi GROUP consists of USD 10 million equity from new and existing shareholders, plus a USD 15 million structured debt facility from Standard Bank. The sizeable new funding for FRiENDi GROUP is a vote of confidence from international financial institutions and investors in the company as well as the future potential of the region’s mobile telecommunications sector.

Commenting on the new funding Mikkel Vinter CEO & Founder, FRiENDi GROUP said; “FRiENDi GROUP continues to expand rapidly, and benefit from telecom markets across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia region moving towards increasingly segmented customer propositions. The new funding from distinguished financial institutions and investors supports FRiENDi GROUP’s vision of establishing a multi-market regional footprint. We are particularly delighted that the approval of the Standard Bank facility follows an exhaustive bankability review by Standard Bank of FRIENDI GROUP’S operations and its future prospects”.

Speaking on the entry of NTEC as a new shareholder of FRiENDi GROUP, Mr. Ghassan Al-Sultan, Senior Manager of Investment Projects from NTEC said; “NTEC invests equity in high-tech companies that have the potential of regional expansion, and a proven concept with a sustainable business model. We are confident that the FRiENDi GROUP has a bright future ahead of it, and the success of FRiENDi GROUP’s existing operations underscores the attractiveness of this opportunity”.

Mr. Mohamed Y. Al Ibrahim, Managing Director of Dolphin International LLC and member of the Board of Directors for FRiENDi GROUP said; “As a privately owned Omani company Dolphin International has enjoyed a partnership with FRiENDi GROUP since 2006. Our latest additional investment in FRiENDi GROUP reflects the success of the Group to date, and our shared vision of the future growth opportunities in the region’s attractive mobile telecommunications market”.

The USD 15 million structured debt facility has been provided by Standard Bank, a global bank with emerging market focus headquartered in South Africa. Standard Bank has operations in 32 countries across Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Commenting on the financing, Rassem Zok, CEO, Standard Bank plc, MENA, said; “Standard Bank is delighted to have provided financing to FRiENDi GROUP, the leading service based mobile provider in the MENA region. This facility demonstrates our committed support to the development of innovative telecoms services. Our team’s considerable sector and structuring expertise combined with local and international market knowledge enables us to offer highly structured financing solutions to clients in our core regions”.