Dialling Up

November 10, 2006 (LBO) – Telecom operator Suntel, a unit of Sweden’s Overseas Telecom AB, plans to spend 3.5 billion rupees next year to expand its network, officials said Friday. Suntel’s other key shareholders includes: Metrocorp (Pvt) Ltd., Townsend Limited of Hong Kong, the NDB Bank, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – a member of the World Bank Group. Suntel which uses a combination of traditional wireless and a mobile wireless technology known as CDMA, had spent around 3.0 billion rupees this year to extend services to remote parts of the country.

On Friday, the firm signed up for a 3.0 billion rupee syndicated loan, to partly offset this year’s expansion costs and meet funding requirements for next year.

The loan was oversubscribed to almost double the facility required, Suntel said.

Arranged through NDB Bank and NDB Investment Bank, the syndication was taken up by nine commercial banks: NDB Bank, Nations Trust Bank, ICICI Bank, Sampath Bank, National Savings Bank, Commercial Bank, People’s Bank, Bank of Ceylon and Standard Chartered Bank,

“This loan grant will help us develop our network infrastructure which in turn will enable us to