OSN borrows $200m

Middle East pay-TV provider OSN has borrowed $200 million in a 5 year syndicated loan from a consortium of banks led by Mashreq, Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas Fortis, Citibank, HSBC Bank Middle East, and National Bank of Kuwait.

The cash is to be used to “further strengthen our core business”. A contract signing ceremony was held for the deal and attended by AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, CEO Mashreq and Faisal Al Ayyar, Chairman of OSN and Vice Chairman of Kipco, David Butorac, CEO of OSN and senior officials from the participating banks.

David Butorac, CEO at OSN, added: “The pay-TV industry in the Mena region is fast-growing and has enormous growth potential. Given the changing preferences of television audiences who value premium and exclusive content that OSN is consistently focused on delivering, this potential is becoming increasingly tangible.

OSN is said to be worth $4.3 billion now that it has fully acquired the ‘Pehla’ media & entertainment portfolio of 40 South Asian speciality channels. Back in June KIPCO, which owns more than half of OSN said it would be seeking to mount an IPO for the broadcaster and appointed Rothschild to advise the business.

OSN claims 734,000 subscribers as at the end of December 2012 of which 29 per cent were in the UAE, 24 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 14 per cent in Qatar. OSN has posted a 24 per cent growth in revenue and a 22 per cent rise in subscribers for the first nine months of the year, according to local financial reports.

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