GULF INVESTMENT CORPORATION TO SUPPORT EXPANSION OF VIRGIN MOBILE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AFRICA

GULF INVESTMENT CORPORATION TO SUPPORT EXPANSION OF VIRGIN MOBILE IN THE MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA

LEADING FINANCIAL INSTITUTION GULF INVESTMENT CORPORATION INVESTS
$50 MILLION IN REGIONAL MVNO GROUP

Dubai, Kuwait, London. 12 March 2013.

Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) today announced that it will invest $50 million in Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA), the fast growing regional mobile telecommunications group headquartered in Dubai.

VMMEA is the undisputed leader in the Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) sector of the mobile telecommunications industry in the MEA region, and the exclusive regional arm of global leader Virgin Mobile, which has operations on five continents and approx. 20 million mobile customers.

GIC is a leading financial institution equally and wholly owned by the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. Established in 1983 to promote the role of the private sector and support economic development in the GCC, GIC has invested billions of Dollars in more than 50 projects across multiple industries in partnership with both private and government entities.

Following the conclusion of the transaction, GIC and the Virgin Group will be the two biggest single shareholders in VMMEA, alongside prominent global and regional shareholders including, ePlanet Capital, Dolphin International, NTEC and Millennium Private Equity.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin, commented “ Virgin Mobile is the leading MVNO operator in the Middle East and Africa with operations in Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. We intend to create a large regional mobile telecom player reaching more than 10 million customers. The investment by GIC is an important show of support by an important institutional investor for our ambitious plans.”

“GIC supports the growth of companies that have innovative and pan-regional business models” said Ibrahim Al-Qadhi, Chief Executive Officer at GIC. ” VMMEA has such a model and targets a niche market in telecommunications in the GCC. This is an important sector for the region and VMMEA is the perfect partner for existing mobile operators.”

Mikkel Vinter, CEO and Founder of VMMEA, added “We are honoured by the trust shown in Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa by an esteemed financial institution like GIC. The Management of VMMEA look forward to working closely with GIC in rolling out the Virgin Mobile brand across the Middle East & Africa. I am delighted that Mohamed Eissa, Head of Technology and Telecom Investments at GIC and Fahad Al-Nusef, VP for Technology and Telecom Investments at GIC will join the Board of VMMEA.”

We believe that the next phase of liberalization in the telecom sector supports the growth of MVNOs and we are thrilled to make this strategic investment in VMMEA. The company has a great track record of partnering with regional telecom operators to deliver value to mobile subscribers. We look forward to working with the management team in VMMEA to support the further expansion of its existing operations as well as entering new markets across the region.” said Mohamed Eissa, Head of Technology & Telecom Investments at GIC.

VMMEA is building its successful regional roll-out based on the MVNO model, one of the fastest growing business models in the mobile telecom sector globally. Virgin Mobile is the global pioneer of the MVNO business model, and VMMEA is using Virgin’s experience and customer-focused business approach to roll-out exciting businesses across the MEA region, providing customers in the region with greater choice and tailored services.

The signing ceremony at the Virgin Group headquarter in London, sitting down form left-to-right: Mr. Peter Langkilde (Chairman, VMMEA), Mr. Mikkel Vinter (CEO & Founder, VMMEA), Mr. Shafic Ali (Director Principal Investment, GIC) and Mr. Peter Stephens (Partner and Global Head for Telecoms & Media Investments, Virgin Group). Standing up form left-to-right: Mr. Fahad Al-Nusef (Vice-President for Technology & Telecom Investments, GIC) and Mr. Mohamed Eissa (Head of Technology & Telecom Investments, GIC)
The signing ceremony at the Virgin Group headquarter in London, sitting down form left-to-right: Mr. Peter Langkilde (Chairman, VMMEA), Mr. Mikkel Vinter (CEO & Founder, VMMEA), Mr. Shafic Ali (Director Principal Investment, GIC) and Mr. Peter Stephens (Partner and Global Head for Telecoms & Media Investments, Virgin Group). Standing up form left-to-right: Mr. Fahad Al-Nusef (Vice-President for Technology & Telecom Investments, GIC) and Mr. Mohamed Eissa (Head of Technology & Telecom Investments, GIC)