POND ISLAND--The TelEm Group has signed a US $32 million bond agreement with RBC Merchant Bank (Caribbean) following what the telecoms company said had been months of negotiations.
TelEm said it will use the bond issue to finance future capital expenditure and refinance current debt obligations. The bond supplements an eight million euro loan obtained from the European Investment Bank (EIB) in 2015 for a country-wide Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) project in St. Maarten.
RBC’s Vice President Corporate and Investment Banking Andrew Boissiere and TelEm Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Helma Etnel said the Bond agreement was officially signed in August 2016 and represents “a significant achievement for both companies.”
In RBC Merchant Bank’s case the bond arrangement entailed delicate negotiations with six major investors, who are together providing the capital necessary for the bond. This is the second time that the TelEm Group has successfully approached the regional capital markets to secure large funding from regional investors, TelEm said in a press release on Thursday.
“I am very grateful to the TelEm Group for its confidence in RBC’s ability to deliver on this undertaking and to all of the parties that made this transaction a success, especially the investors, whose proceeds will assist the TelEm Group with achieving its corporate objectives,” Boissiere said.
“The RBC Group has maintained a long-standing relationship with the island of St. Maarten highlighted by several large corporate transactions for Princess Juliana [International – Ed.] Airport and [Port St. Maarten – Ed.]. We are very proud to continue this relationship through this Bond issue for the TelEm Group and continue the path of further enhancing the telecommunication infrastructure of the island,” he added.
“RBC takes pride in its regional scope, its broad network of institutional partners and international expertize in arranging financing throughout the Caribbean region. It continues to be a leader in structuring financing for multiple sectors including but not limited to governments, telecom, hospitals, utilities and ports.”
Etnel said the bond and consequent loan arrangement means TelEm Group, in essence, has been able to renegotiate more favourable terms and conditions and will now be accountable to one company via a trustee, than to several financiers as before. “We are most thankful to RBC Merchant Bank for their patience and hard work in securing this bond arrangement and look forward to a continued relationship,” Etnel said.
She thanked TelEm Group consultant Marit Beishuizen for her “outstanding” contribution with the coordination of what was in fact a very complicated arrangement. “There were many elements that had to be monitored and coordinated with various lawyers and financial institutions, so Mrs. Beishuizen’s role in managing the entire process was critical to its success and the mutually satisfactory outcome,” Etnel added.
A “gathering” will be hosted in the coming weeks with the transaction parties and investors to celebrate the bond issuance and recognise the effort and support that contributed to the success of the transaction. RBC will also be hosting a “gathering” in the coming weeks with the transaction parties and investors to celebrate the bond issuance and recognise the effort and support that contributed to the success of the transaction.