OSN secures US$200MN financing facility

Rebecca Hawkes | 25-11-2013

Pay-TV network OSN has successfully closed a syndicated five-year facility for US$200 million to finance the Dubai-based company's expansion across the Arab world.

Arranged and underwritten by UAE financial institution Mashreq, participating banks include Barclays, BNP Paribas Fortis, Citibank, HSBC Middle East and National Bank of Kuwait.

"This successful transaction demonstrates the strong relationship that OSN has with its banking partners," said Julio De Quesada, head of corporate and investment banking group, Mashreq.

"With its sophisticated platform to provide services to cater to the diverse cultural and ethnic mix for both expatriates and GCC nationals, OSN is well positioned to remain a market leader and further grow and expand its foothold, leveraging the low penetration rates in the pay-TV industry in MENA."

OSN is now valued at $4.3 billion by Dubai brokerage Arqaam Capital a 72% increase on the $2.5 billion valuation which pre-dated the network's acquisition of the South Asian pay-TV platform Pehla Media and Entertainment in September.

With 734,000 subscribers at the end of 2012, OSN's revenues have grown 24% and its subscriber base has grown 22% during the first nine months of 2013, according to Arqaam.

"We raise our value of OSN to $4.3 billion after continuous strong momentum with very high operating leverage. We expect OSN's new acquisition of Pehla to add a further c.10% to its current levels," said Jaap Meijer, analyst, Arqaam Capital.

Majority shareholder, Kuwait Projects Company (Kipco), disclosed in June 2013 that it had hired Rothschild to explore various financial options for OSN, including a potential initial public offering (IPO).