Etisalat may revive talks to sell its Sudanese unit to Zain Group

3 Dec 2013

United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Etisalat is reportedly planning to revive talks to offload its Sudanese telecom arm Canar Telecom (Canartel) to Kuwaiti telecoms giant Zain Group, despite a breakdown in negotiations earlier this year. According to Reuters, talks collapsed around the start of 2013, with Etisalat thought to have backed out because it believed other parties might consider buying Canar and so hoped to get a better price for its subsidiary. However, Etisalat was hit with impairment charges of AED459 million (USD124.97 million) related to its Sudanese operation in FY2012, due to inflation and the tough political and economic conditions in the country, and is now eager to sell what it considers to be a ‘peripheral investment’ for the company. Speaking to the news agency, an unnamed source described the deal as a ‘win-win situation’ for both parties.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Etisalat currently holds the controlling 89% stake in Canartel, which launched Sudan’s second fixed line network in January 2006, while the remainder is in possession of local investors. The operator provides voice, data and broadband internet based on next-generation network (NGN) and CDMA technologies. Further, Etisalat has the option of extending its licence to cover mobile services without the requirement to participate in an open bidding process.

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