| DUBAI, April 2
DUBAI, April 2 Bahrain Telecommunications
(Batelco) has completed a tender offer to buy back
some of its own bonds, purchasing $131.4 million of debt, the
state-run firm said on Wednesday.
Batelco had previously been largely debt-free, but last
April sold a $650 million seven-year bond with an
annual coupon on 4.25 percent to help fund its $570 million
acquisition of Cable & Wireless Communications' Monaco
and Islands Division.
Some aspects of the deal subsequently ran into regulatory
problems and CWC returned the $100 million Batelco paid for a
stake in a holding company that ultimately owns part of Monaco
Telecom, leaving Batelco with what analysts considered to be
excess cash on its balance sheet.
The firm has sought to rectify that; it bought back $39.5
million of its debt by last Dec. 31, and in March launched a
tender to acquire a further $200 million of its bonds.
Debt holders tendered $136.1 million of bonds and Batelco
agreed to buy back $131.4 million of them, a company statement
on Wednesday said.
The company expects to settle the buy-back on Friday and
will pay accrued interest on the notes.
"This transaction has afforded Batelco the opportunity to
deploy excess liquidity in managing debt levels and realizing
future interest savings," the Batelco statement said.
Batelco had cash and cash equivalents of 195.1 million
dinars ($517.5 million) at the end of 2013, according to its
annual results, more than double those of a year earlier.
($1 = 0.3770 Bahraini Dinars)
(Reporting by Matt Smith; editing by Olzhas Auyezov)