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June 13, 2008

Indosat agrees $450 mln syndicated loans

Indonesia's second-largest mobile phone operator, PT Indosat Tbk , has agreed $450 million in syndicated loans for capital spending as its seeks to improve its network in Java island and expand outside, reported Reuters.

Indosat, which announced the loans in a statement late on Thursday, plans up to $1.2 billion capital spending this year.

ING Bank N.V. and DBS Bank Ltd are the lead arrangers and bookrunners for the syndicated loans, which mature in five years.

Indosat's subscribers rose 22 percent to 30 million in the first five months, putting the firm well on track to meet its target to sign up 8 million new users this year. Indosat's subscribers were 24.5 million at the end of 2007.

Analysts and industry experts have previously predicted that the total number of cellular phone customers in Indonesia would climb to 120 million by the end of this year, from around 90 million at the end of 2007 on stronger demand for communication.

Asia Mobile Holdings, controls around 40 percent of Indosat. ST Telemedia, a unit of Singapore's Temasek Holdings, has a 75 percent stake in Asia Mobile Holdings, while Qatar Telecom controls 25 percent.

But Qatar Telecom said it plans to acquire ST Telemedia's entire stake in Indosat for $1.35 billion.

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