Reuters reports that Etisalat is considering bidding for a 51% stake in Zain Group. In a telephone interview Jalal al-Jarwan, chief executive of Zain’s international unit, told the news agency that the UAE company was ‘interested in Zain as a whole, given the right values. We need to sort out the overlap [in operations] in Saudi Arabia and Nigeria’. However, Etisalat’s manager of corporate communications, Ahmed bin Ali, dampened speculation by telling Zawya Dow Jones that Etisalat is not in negotiations with Zain. On Monday Zain and French media giant Vivendi broke off talks over a proposed deal for Zain’s African subsidiaries.
Meanwhile, Zain has reported revenues of USD4 billion for the first half of 2009, up 24.1% year-on-year. EBITDA grew by 46.3% to USD1.8 billion, while net income was up 4.4% to USD533.5 million. The company said its overall subscriber base from operations in 24 countries reached 69.5 million active customers at 30 June. Zain says it is optimistic of even better results in the second half of the year.