Etisalat considers Oman purchase; expresses Tunisian interest

13 Nov 2007

UAE incumbent Etisalat has said that the size of its bid for Omantel will depend on the sale conditions imposed by the Omani government. Etisalat’s chief operations officer, Ahmad Julfar, said, ‘We will wait for the conditions placed by the Oman government to see if they fit with our expectations,’ according to ArabianBusiness.com. Etisalat is expected to bid for a 19% stake for Omantel, the country’s second-largest company by market capitalisation. Based on its current stock valuation, the asking price would be in the region of USD620 million. Omantel, which has a monopoly on fixed line communications and is the market leader in the wireless sector, is an attractive target for acquisitive telcos, particularly after its USD204 million offer for a 60% share in Pakistani telco Worldcall was accepted by Worldcall’s shareholders. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

Etisalat has spent more than USD6 billion on foreign expansion over the previous three years, and has established a presence stretching from the west coast of Africa to Afghanistan. It recently emerged that Etisalat may also be seeking to gain a footing in the Tunisian market by entering the race for that country’s third mobile licence; Julfar told Reuters this week that investment opportunities in Tunisia were ‘very promising’, adding that the company had every intention to invest in the country.

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