International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will provide financing to help Robi Axiata Limited (Robi) to expand its telecom network and build new telecommunication infrastructure networks.
The US $99 million long term loan facility will enable Robi to improve public access to affordable and reliable telecommunication services by increasing capacity and extending coverage, particularly in rural and underserved areas. A significant portion of the debt financing will be channeled toward augmenting coverage and capacity in Robi’s 3.5G mobile network.
An agreement was signed in this regard between the two organizations as announced at a city hotel today. Robi’s Managing Director and CEO Supun Weerasinghe and IFC’s Senior Country Officer M. Rehan Rashid signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.
This agreement indicates the growing stature of Robi in the country. It also attests Robi’s strong corporate governance framework premised on uncompromising integrity. The loan also enables Robi to have the optimum capital structure having local & foreign loans in addition to shareholders contribution.
Commenting on the agreement Robi CEO said, “Robi is indeed grateful to IFC for their confidence in our business. We believe that it also reflects the confidence of the international community such as World Bank, on the future of Bangladesh. Robi, as a leading mobile operator underpinned by Axiata vision of advancing Asia, always invests responsibly in our network to deliver best value experience for our subscribers. This partnership with IFC is a further endorsement of this vision and our commitment towards corporate governance and corporate responsibility.”
“Speaking at the occasion, IFC’s Senior Country Officer, M. Rehan Rashid, said, “Robi clearly stands out in the mobile telecom industry as an operator upholding the principles of a responsible corporate entity. We find the operator honoring its commitment unfailingly towards sustainable growth of the economy while undertaking customer centric market initiatives. IFC is particularly impressed with the robust corporate governance framework the company has put in place to sustain its business and, is very happy to form a partnership with Robi.
We also understand that this financing support will help the company develop its telecom infrastructure in the far flung parts, taking the country a step closer to the complete realization of ‘Digital Bangladesh’.”
Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood, Chairman, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), Brig Gen Md Ahsan Habib Khan, Retd Vice Chairman, BTRC, three Executive Members of Board of Investment (BOI), Md. Khairul Anam, Mohd. Abduz Zaher NDC, Salma Nasreen NDC and Zafar Sobhan, Editor, Dhaka Tribune was present in the ceremony.
Robi’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Yap Wai Yip, Chief Corporate and People Officer (CCPO) Matiul Islam Nowshad and Mohammad Lutfullah, Operations Officer, World Bank Group were present at the signing ceremony.
Robi Axiata Limited is a joint venture between Axiata Group Berhad, of Malaysia and NTT DoCoMo Inc., of Japan. Robi is the second largest mobile phone operator in Bangladesh in terms of revenue, with 28.4 million subscribers, as of September 2015. Robi network provides nationwide coverage to 99% of the population with 13,260 2.5G BTS and over 2,950 3.5G sites. Robi proudly claims to have the widest international roaming service in the market, connecting 600 operators across more than 200 countries. It is also the first operator to introduce GPRS and 3.5G services in Bangladesh. The Company has introduced many first of its kind digital services in the country and has invested heavily in taking mobile financial services to the underserved communities in the rural and semi-urban areas.