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TAWAL taps Islamic finance for $1.42 billion deal to buy European Towers

Saudi Telecom Co.’s subsidiary, Telecommunications Towers Co., or TAWAL, has raised $1.42 billion in Islamic financing to facilitate the acquisition of tower assets from the Netherlands-based United Group, extending its reach into the European market.

TAWAL agreed in April to buy tower infrastructure worth 1.22 billion euros ($1.34 billion) from United Group which has sites in Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia.

In a regulatory filing, the telecommunications major disclosed that the transaction was funded through a Shariah-compliant bank loan. The deal, having obtained the required approvals, was completed on August 24.

Saudi National Bank, the Kingdom’s largest lender, played a key role by contributing $1.02 billion to the funding, with $300 million as a bridge loan. Dubai Islamic Bank and First Abu Dhabi Bank followed suit, contributing $250 million and $150 million, respectively.

The strategic acquisition bolsters TAWAL’s tower portfolio, raising it to over 21,000 sites across five countries.

“This acquisition represents a unique addition to stc complete digital ecosystem,” said the telecommunication firm.

Earlier this month, stc revealed another significant move as its joint venture with the Public Investment Fund, iot squared, agreed to acquire 100 percent of Machinestalk, an internet of things solutions provider.

According to a press statement, the acquisition is expected to accelerate iot squared’s growth and solidify its position as a leading regional IoT solutions provider.

It added that these investments will drive digital transformation in the Kingdom and contribute to Saudi Vision 2030 becoming a technology hub in the Middle East and North Africa region.

In July, stc entered into a strategic partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation, contributing to the Kingdom’s ambitions of becoming a global hub for esports and gaming.

This collaboration involves providing technical support and high-speed internet services for several events in the federation’s calendar.

On the financial front, stc reported a 4 percent increase in net profit for the first half of the year, reaching SR6.11 billion compared to SR5.87 billion in the same period the previous year.

The company’s second-quarter revenue also demonstrated growth, standing at SR3 billion, a 6 percent increase compared to SR2.83 billion in the corresponding period last year. Reuters

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