The proposed project would support further development of the second GSM operator in Albania and will finance the build-out of the company's GSM mobile network in order to meet licence coverage requirements and provide additional network capacity.
The proposed transaction would support sustainable telecoms network expansion and foster provision of basic telephony services as well as emergence of innovative and advanced wireless services. In particular, the project would help promote competition and stimulate customer choice in Albania by supporting development of a new international entrant in the previously monopolistic wireless market.
Vodafone Albania Sh.a. is the second largest provider of wireless telecommunications services in Albania and a subsidiary of Vodafone Group Plc, a UK-based global wireless operator. Vodafone Albania won a second licence to operate GSM 800/1800 network in February 2001 and has been providing services since August 2001.
EBRD and IFC co-arranging up to €100 million 9-year senior loan facility consisting of an "A Loan" portion of €40 million for the EBRD's account, an "A Loan" portion of €40 million for the account of IFC and a syndicated "B Loan" portion of €20 million.
The project was screened B/1 requiring an environmental analysis. The analysis confirmed that construction plans including siting, disposal of waste, environmental, worker health and safety issues would be addressed in accordance with all relevant national, EU and World Bank/IFC standards and requirements. Key environmental issues include land acquisition and site selection, solid and liquid waste management; and worker health and safety issues. The Company aims to minimise construction of new roads, towers and stations in sensitive habitats or historical sites as well as minimise impacts on such areas if new installations are necessary. The Vodafone Group is committed to monitoring its waste stream and using materials more efficiently. A recycling programme of batteries is currently in place. The Company would implement worker health and safety policy and practices in line with the Vodafone Group policies and guidelines. This approach would include a continuous assessment of occupational risks and improvement in the internal procedures and a Safety Management System. The Sponsor has presented plans to ensure that the proposed project would, upon implementation of the specific agreed measures, comply with Albanian laws and regulations, World Bank/IFC environmental and social policies and EBRD environmental requirements.
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