Broad Expansion

Sept 06, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Telecom, the island’s largest telecom operator, said it will raise 75 million US dollars from a syndicated loan to upgrade and expand its network including Mobitel, the group mobile unit. “We are still in the process of finalizing the syndicated loan,” chief executive Gregg Young said.

“The syndicated loan will be used for further investments into Mobitel, our network investments to expand broadband and network modernization.”

The dollar denominated loan will be syndicated by a state-run bank.

Sri Lanka Telecom is the island’s only wireline operator. The wireline base which was in retreat at one time, is now growing with new subscriptions coming from broadband.

Young said the firm has already started a 5.0 billion rupee two year investment into expanding broadband capacity under its ‘i-Sri Lanka’ project with internal cash.

“At the present time we have sufficient cash,” Young said.

Sri Lanka’s total fixed users grew 3.7 percent to 3.59 million in the first quarter of 2011 from a year earlier, while mobiles grew at a faster 18.4 percent to 17.8 million users. In the first quarter wirelines grew 1.2 percent to 907,887 from a quarter earlier.