On January 14, 2022, CEE Legal Matters reported that Norton Rose Fulbright had advised Play on a PLN 464 million financing from Banco Santander in the form of an export finance facility backed by the Korean Export Credit Agency. CEE In-House Matters spoke with Marek Chrusciel, Director, Treasury, Investor Relations and Corporate Finance at Play, to learn more about the deal.
CEEIHM: To start, tell us a bit about Play.
Chrusciel: Play is the number one Polish mobile operator with over 15 million subscribers (as of Q3 2021). Play offers mobile voice, text, and data as well as home services (TV, fixed-line internet) to individual and corporate customers. In 2020 Play became a 100%-owned subsidiary of Iliad.
CEEIHM: As reported, Play secured a PLN 464 million financing from Banco Santander in the form of an export finance facility backed by the Korean Export Credit Agency. Why did you opt for this financing solution?
Chrusciel: At Play we are always looking for possibilities to optimize our funding structure. We have been considering various forms of supplier financing and, after a careful review of available options, we decided to go for an export finance facility backed by the Korean Export Credit Agency. It is important to mention the role of Santander Bank, our long-standing banking partner, in supporting us throughout the process of arranging the facility.
CEEIHM: And what is the money intended for?
Chrusciel: The funds from the facility will be utilized by Play to partially finance purchases of electronic devices from Samsung in the years 2021 and 2022.
CEEIHM: What were the main challenges, from a legal perspective, in securing this financing?
Chrusciel: It was the first pure export finance facility Play has arranged over the last years, so we needed to accommodate the needs specific to ECA and align the terms of the export finance facility with unified terms of our other financing agreements. It was not a walk in the park, however, with strong legal advisors representing the bank, Korean Export Credit Agency, and Play and thanks to the partnership and flexible approach of all parties, we have reached an agreement that satisfies all.
CEEIHM: And why did you pick Norton Rose as your advisor for it?
Chrusciel: I strongly believe that having a highly reliable, trustworthy, and professional legal advisor by your side helps a lot in structuring and negotiations of facility agreements. We had very good experiences in cooperation with Norton Rose on previous transactions. Thanks to the expertise and personal involvement of Norton Rose lawyers we achieved the desired shape of the credit facility agreement.