IFC approves $250 mn for Idea Cellular

April 2nd, 2008 - 5:57 pm ICT by admin  

Ahmedabad, April 2 (IANS) International Finance Corporation, (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, has approved a $250 million loan for Idea Cellular Ltd of the Aditya Birla group. The loan from the IFC will enable the company to launch operations in two new circles - Mumbai and Bihar - in the coming months.

The company’s network now extends across 11 of India’s 23 telecommunication services areas including Gujarat. It is a GSM mobile telecommunications provider and had 21 million subscribers as on December 2007.

“The loan has been approved by the IFC board and the approval has been communicated to us,” said A.J.S. Jhala, chief financial officer of the company.

The roll out of services in Mumbai and Bihar is part of company’s $2.4 billion capital expenditure programme spread over 2007-09.

The IFC loan package of $250 million will come in two tranches - first package of $100 million and $150 million in the second package.

According to project details in the loan application to the IFC, the company, besides launching operations in Mumbai and Bihar, will upgrade and expand Idea Cellular’s existing network in India and install and maintain a national long distance (NLD) network.

With the completion of the project, Idea’s network will cover approximately 70 percent of India’s total mobile subscriber base. Currently Idea’s national market share is nine percent.

The Aditya Birla group holds 57.7 percent of Idea Cellular Ltd.

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