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Batelco Group Receives First Public Investment Grade Credit Ratings

Batelco Group Receives First Public Investment Grade Credit Ratings

Manama, Bahrain: Batelco Group (Ticker: BATELCO), the regional telecommunications operator of reference headquartered in Bahrain with operations across seven countries, today announced that it has received its first public credit ratings. Leading global credit ratings agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, both have affirmed the Group's strong operating performance and financial position issuing it with investment grade ratings.

Fitch has assigned Batelco Group with an Issuer Default Rating of "BBB-" and Standard & Poor's has issued the Group with a "BBB-" long-term and an "A-3" short-term foreign and local currency corporate credit rating.

These ratings underpin Batelco Group's strong credit quality and reflect its market leading position in Bahrain's telecommunications sector as underscored by its robust position in the mobile market and other segments, as well as the Group's continued strong profitability and significant cash flow generation, which supports a sound liquidity profile.

The ratings are also indicative of the strength of the Group's strategy and successful efforts in diversifying its revenue and profits via expanding its overseas operations, which have grown in recent years to include a strong and growing presence in seven markets across the MENA region and India, as well as future plans for further geographic diversification and growth in overseas markets.

Commenting on the announcement, Group CEO, Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa, stated: "As we continue to pursue profitable growth across the MENA region and India, we are pleased to secure investment grade credit ratings from two of the world's most reputable ratings agencies after a full review of our operations, strategy and financial position. These ratings affirm the Group's ongoing success in managing our operations both at home, where we remain the market leader, and across our growing network, where we continue to gain traction and achieve positive growth both in terms of customer numbers and revenues."

He continued: "Importantly, they are also indicative of the Group's successful financial performance and disciplined fiscal approach. The investment grade ratings issued to us demonstrate confidence in the Group's profitability levels, strong cash flows and the overall prudent financial management policies that have enabled us to deliver on our commitments to shareholders whilst responsibly funding further growth and expansion in line with our strategy to add scale to our operations and achieve even greater diversification. These ratings will further enhance our ability to diversify our sources of funding should we seek to secure future financing from the debt or capital markets."

For the nine-month period ending 30 September 2011, the Group was free of debt and reported a cash and bank balance of BD 86.8M (US$ 230.2M).

To view the credit rating report summary, click here.