€150 million syndicated loan to finance 4G/4G+ roll-out, energy efficiency projects and other network upgrades
The EBRD is extending a €150 million syndicated loan to Cosmote Mobile Telecommunications SA, a fully owned subsidiary of Greece’s largest telecommunications provider OTE Group, to fund the expansion of the 4G/4G+ network and the use of state-of-the-art climate-friendly technology.
The financing package consists of an EBRD A loan of €85 million as part of a €150 million A/B syndicated loan, with €65 million mobilised from commercial lenders. With a separate agreement signed concurrently, the European Investment Bank will provide €150 million in financing which will also cover capital expenditure.
The funds will finance the expansion of energy efficient 4G/4G+ networks, as well as green and sustainable energy solutions at Cosmote also aimed at improving infrastructure resilience to the impact of extreme weather, heat stress and high temperatures.
The information and communication technologies (ICT) sector is currently consuming approximately 10 per cent of the global electricity generation and such improvements are becoming ever important. They contribute to a more reliable energy supply, efficient use of energy and climate resilient infrastructure, all integral parts of the ICT business.
This will ultimately increase the resilience of Greek companies and reduce climate change emissions. Strengthening the resilience of the economy in the countries where it invests is one of the EBRD’s strategic priorities, as is making them greener.
Dirk Werner, EBRD Director Information and Communication Technologies, said: “This innovative transaction with such a notable green component is a priority for the EBRD in Greece. We are delighted to support a project that will boost energy efficiency standards, the local economy and Greece’s telecoms sector as a whole.”
OTE Group Chairman and CEO, Mr Michael Tsamaz, commented: “Our investments are addressing the continuously evolving needs of the society and our customers, for enhanced communication networks and services. We are far and away the largest investor in telecommunications in Greece, having invested over €2 billion in the past six years and committed to another €1.5 billion by 2020, to establish optical fibre and 4G/4G+ networks. Next-generation networks are not a luxury. They are the “sine qua non” of the digital age. We need to address the digital needs of customers and businesses in an environmentally friendly way, to ensure sustainability. Our cooperation with EIB and the EBRD will enable us to deliver our strategy and build the “green” networks of the future, a prerequisite for the country’s sustainable growth.”
An innovative and leading mobile communications services provider in the Greek market, Cosmote is the principal investor in new technologies. It serves 7.5 million subscribers and is the first company to have introduced 3G, 4G and 4G+ mobile broadband networks in the country.
The EBRD financing for climate-resilient ICT solutions is part of the Bank’s Green Economy Transition (GET) approach which aims to increase its green financing to 40 per cent of annual business investment by 2020.
The financiers under the EBRD’s A/B loan structure include Eurobank Private Bank Luxembourg S.A., National Bank of Greece S.A., Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Alpha Bank Romania SA, Bank of China Limited Luxembourg Branch, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ltd. Luxembourg Branch, Intesa Sanpaolo S.P.A., Hellenic Bank Public Company Ltd, Piraeus Bank S.A. and Nomura International plc.
The EBRD started investing in Greece on a temporary basis in 2015 to support the country’s economic recovery. The Bank’s priorities are the strengthening of private companies and the financial sector, support for privatisation, infrastructure development and regional integration of the Greek economy. Since the beginning of its operations, the EBRD has invested over €1.1 billion in more than 20 projects in the country.