On January 31, Silknet successfully placed a $300 million 5-year Eurobond issue. Reaching the $300m benchmark allows Silknet to be included on JP Morgan’s leading Corporate Emerging Markets Bond Index (CEMBI).
The new funds will be used to refinance existing liabilities and fortify the company balance sheet, providing liquidity for continued service improvements. Significant infrastructure expenditures in recent years have already paid off in lower costs going forward and now allow the company to focus on improving analytics and customer centricity, shoring up our reputation as best in market.
The new bond issue replaces the $200m issue of 2019, which is being redeemed early ahead of the April 2024 maturation and April 2022 call-option. The 8.375% coupon rate on the new issue marks a substantial decrease from the 2019 issue, which was marked at 11%.
The improved rate reflects Silknet’s strong performance, extensive infrastructure investment, and proactive engagement with investors in recent years, throughout the pandemic. The hard work of the Silknet team has been recognised by the national regulator, which has rated Silknet as the fastest connectivity provider in the country. It has also encouraged credit rating agency Moody’s to raise Silknet’s outlook to stable ahead of today’s issuance.
The same efforts have also boosted Silknet’s Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) grade, with Sustainanlytics marking an improvement from 27.5 to 26.1 in its risk rating system, placing the business in the 41st percentile among global telecommunications providers. Together with other service improvements, ESG is a key area of growth for Silknet, with further commitments promising market leading rankings in coming years.
The success of the bond issue and the resilience of the business despite the challenges of the last two years demonstrate that both Silknet and Georgia as a whole remain an attractive investment prospect.
JP Morgan and UBS acted as bookrunners and lead managers, and TBC Capital was a lead manager. Dentons acted as Silknet’s legal advisors. Latham & Watkins and BGI acted as the legal advisors to the joint lead managers.