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MTS Operator Raises Rs 1280Cr To Scale Up, Repay Loans

Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL), that nationally operates its telecom services under the MTS brand, has raised a loan amounting to Rs 1,280 crore through Non Convertible Debentures (NCD), the company said on Thursday.

Deutsche Bank was the lead banker to the NCD issue which was partially secured by the guarantee of Sberbank, one of the leading banks in Russia. The company has received the entire amount and the 8-year debt is payable by 2019.

Sergey Savchenko, chief financial officer of SSTL said, "This is the next step after raising an Rs 920 crore loan from Barclays Bank and ICICI Bank in September last year and we currently have several other facilities in pipe-line. We are planning to utilise the proceeds to further scale up our telecom operations and repayment of maturing loan."

The previous loan of around $200 million was equally split between ICICI Bank and Barclays Bank. It was proportionally secured by another Russian lender Gazprombank through a standby letter of credit and bank guarantee. That three year loan is payable in 2014.

SSTL is a joint venture between Sistema of Russia and the Shyam Group of India. Sistema is the majority shareholder in the company which operates its telecom services under the MTS brand. MTS in India has over 15 million wireless subscribers and it provides mobile broadband services to more than 1,200,000 customers in over 200 cities across the country under the MBlaze brand.

Last year, the company became the first telecom operator in India to provide international data roaming for CDMA prepaid customers. According to the company, MTS customers while on international roaming can have access to GPRS services in 206 countries on 322 telecom networks. Additionally, they will also be able to enjoy HSDPA services in 114 countries on 145 roaming networks.

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