ePlanet Capital Fund II Portfolio Company FRiENDi GROUP Secures $25m in Funding

San Jose, CA, April 28, 2011 --(PR.com)-- ePlanet Fund II portfolio company FRiENDi GROUP, the leading MVNO/B-brand provider in the MENA region, has secured USD 25 million of funding to accelerate future expansion plans across the Middle East, Africa and Asia region.

The new funding consists of USD 10 million equity from a combination of new and existing shareholders and an innovative USD 15 million structured debt facility provided by Standard Bank Plc. The USD 10 million equity element is being provided by existing FRiENDi GROUP shareholders, led by Dolphin International LLC of Oman, as well as by prominent new shareholder National Technology Enterprises Company (NTEC), the venture capital arm of Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA). The new funding for FRiENDi GROUP is seen as a vote of confidence from regional and international financial institutions and investors in the future of the region’s rapidly growing mobile telecommunications market.

Commenting on the new funding, Mikkel Vinter CEO, FRiENDi GROUP said: “The new funding from distinguished financial institutions and investors is evidence that FRiENDi GROUP continues to break new ground in the region, and will allow the company to accelerate its growth trajectory and make further progress on delivering on the Group’s strategic vision. We are delighted at receiving the Standard Bank facility, which follows an exhaustive bankability review by Standard Bank of FRiENDi GROUP’S operations, business model and its future prospects.” He also added, “ePlanet has made a number of introductions to co-investors, companies and individuals in their network that have proved valuable to FRiENDi GROUP. ePlanet has also been closely involved in the negotiation and securing of the debt facility from Standard Bank, and we have benefited from ePlanet senior team member’s investment banking experience. ePlanet has provided invaluable support regarding strategic and operational planning to both the FRiENDi GROUP and to our joint ventures in each of the countries in which we operate.’’

Asad Jamal, Founder and Chairman of ePlanet, Friendi Group's largest institutional shareholder said: “ePlanet is delighted to have NTEC join as a new shareholder and for Dolphin Group to increase its investment in the company. ePlanet's global investment focus allows us to see investment opportunities everywhere, and the wireless communications sector in the Middle East and Africa region remains one of the most exciting in the emerging markets with industry analysts predicting that, over the next five years, the region will experience the fastest growth in mobile data traffic in the world. FRiENDi GROUP's innovative and now proven business model, including a growing focus on mobile data, has allowed it to become one of the fastest growing telecom companies in the Middle East, and with the injection of new capital, we are confident that this growth can accelerate."

Ashraf Hameedi, ePlanet Capital representative on the FRiENDi GROUP Board commented "ePlanet is delighted to have assisted the company’s strong management team in achieving this important financing milestone. Emerging markets based expansion and growth stage companies face considerable challenges accessing domestic and international credit markets. As a pioneer of global venture, expansion and growth stage investing, ePlanet hopes that FRiENDi GROUP’s success in raising a senior secured term loan facility will inspire financial markets to more actively extend credit to such emerging markets companies."

ePlanet Capital
Amira Atallah