UPDATE 1-Orange subsidiary to raise $174 mln on West African debt market

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DAKAR, June 9 (Reuters) - Orange’s West African subsidiary Sonatel said on Tuesday it would issue 100 billion CFA francs ($174 million) in bonds by mid-July in the largest ever debt issue by a private company on the regional market.

The bond issue has been approved by the regional council of the West African monetary union and the subscription period will run from June 15 to July 15, Sonatel said in a statement.

The bond’s maturity is seven years with an interest rate of 6.50%, it added.

Sonatel said the funds would be invested in infrastructure to “continue the modernisation and extension of the Sonatel network” and support expansion into new sectors such as energy, banking and multimedia content.

Sonatel says it is the market leader in the five countries where it operates: Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Sierra Leone. Orange owns 42% of the company, the Senegalese state controls 27%, and the remaining shares either float or are owned by company employees. (Reporting by Diadie Ba; Writing by Aaron Ross Editing by Bate Felix and David Evans)