Etisalat given $500 mln grant by Abu Dhabi for Maroc Telecom deal

DUBAI Mon May 26, 2014 10:04am EDT

DUBAI May 26 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi gave Etisalat a $500 million grant towards its 4.14 billion euro ($5.64 billion) purchase of 53 percent of Maroc Telecom, the company's prospectus for a planned bond issue shows.

The grant provides further evidence of the emirate's support for its companies' foreign expansion and could attract complaints from rival operators.

Fellow Abu Dhabi-based company Etihad Airways benefited from a $3 billion interest-free loan from the emirate's ruling family, the Australian Financial Review newspaper said last week, leading to complaints from rival airlines about state subsidies distorting competition.

The grant was mentioned in the prospectus for a bond issue to help to repay some of the debt taken on to complete the Maroc Telecom transaction.

"In connection with the acquisition, the group received an amount of $500 million as a grant from an entity owned by the government of Abu Dhabi," the document stated.

Etisalat could start marketing the bond as early as next week, having chosen four banks to arrange the issue, four banking sources said.

It chose Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland to arrange the deal, the sources said.

Etisalat did not respond immediately to a request for comment. ($1 = 0.7336 Euros) (Additional Reporting by Stanley Carvalho in Abu Dhabi and Abhinav Ramnarayan in London; Editing by David Goodman)