Indonesia – a wireless market characterised by declining tariffs and increasing usage, a large subscriber base, inadequate geographic coverage and a relatively large number of smaller, capital-constrained new operators.
This was what senior executives, including one of the founders of America Tower Corporation (the largest independent telecom tower company in US by market capitalisation), were looking for in late 2007, as they scoured for a suitable Asian market to replicate the success they had tasted in the Americas. Together with financial sponsor Farallon Capital Management, they acquired PT Professional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo), a relatively small Indonesian independent telecom tower company. This was the first step towards becoming the leading independent telecom tower company in Indonesia.
Realising the vision
In early 2008, Protelindo continued its expansion and won the bid to acquire 3,692 telecom towers from PT Hutchison CP Telecommunications (Hutchison). Under the deal, Hutchison will be the anchor tenant on the towers via a long-term lease. Hutchison also appointed Protelindo to deliver additional build-to-suit (BTS) towers.
Protelindo mandated Standard Chartered Bank, along with ABN Amro, DBS, China Trust, OCBC, CIMB, Bank Mandiri and BCA as lead banks, to arrange a debt facility to finance the acquisition and build the requisite BTS towers. By November 2008, about two months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the lead banks had successfully arranged up to $360 million and $100 million equivalent IDR floating rate term loan facilities for Protelindo. The financing provided to Protelindo is the largest telecom tower financing to date in South East Asia and...
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