Zain Saudi extends $2.4 bln loan until July 31 -statement

DUBAI, June 26 Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:00am EDT

DUBAI, June 26 (Reuters) - Loss-making telecom operator Zain Saudi has gained more time - until July 31 - to repay a $2.4 billion Islamic loan due on Wednesday, the company said in a bourse statement.

Zain Saudi, 37-percent owned by Kuwait's Zain, said the latest extension was to allow it to finalise a new long-term replacement agreement with lenders, which will be for five years and incur lower costs.

The murabaha facility - a sharia-compliant cost-plus-profit arrangement - was originally due in 2011, but has been put back multiple times.

Zain Saudi, which has yet to make a quarterly net profit since launching services in 2008, earlier this month received government approval to defer payment of licence-related fees that could total around $1.49 billion over seven years.

The firm's shares have gained 13.6 percent since it announced the government deal. (Reporting by Matt Smith; editing by Patrick Graham)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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