Oman Investment Fund (OIF), a wholly owned investment arm of the Omani government, is reportedly close to completing syndication of a USD600 million loan to acquire the Ministry of Finance’s shares in Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel), Reuters cites sources familiar with the situation as saying. In December last year the government said it was transferring its 51% stake in the country’s incumbent telecoms operator to the OIF, which has an objective to build a diversified portfolio in the production and services sectors, projects and other related fields. According to sources, the USD600 million, five-year loan is in the final stages of syndication and should close in the coming days. The sovereign wealth fund would use the money to back the acquisition of the 51% stake, with the aim of improving efficiency and generating higher profitability for the company.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the government reduced its stake in Omantel from 70% to the current 51% in the first half of 2014, following a private placement open to Omani individual and institutional investors in March that year, and an initial public offering (IPO) for local citizens in April.