Etisalat eyes Tunisian incumbent

The UAE incumbent joins 12 others now facing an auction for the 35% stake in Tunisie Telecom up for sale.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  October 10, 2005

UAE telecoms incumbent Etisalat has pre-qualified to participate in the process to award a 35% stake in Tunisia’s incumbent operator, Tunisie Telecom. Twelve other companies from Europe and the Middle East have also pre-qualified, and will now take part in the next round, an auction that is expected to value the stake at up to US$1.7 billion. Other pre-qualified bidders from the Middle East include Bahrain’s Batelco, Saudi Oger and Saudi Telecom Company. Telefonica of Spain, France Telecom, Telecom Italia, Vivendi Universal, Portugal Telecom, Bouyges Telecom, T-Mobile, MTN of South Africa and Telecom Dig have also pre-qualified. Sources have indicated that pre-selected companies would receive financial information on the operator over the next few days, but that it could take up to three months for the final bids to arrive. Etisalat is also interested in Turkey, having applied for pre-qualification in the tender for the sale of the second mobile operator, Telsim. The operator joins fellow UAE firm Emaar Properties, along with 13 other bidders in the race for the Telsim, valued at around US$2.8 billion. Other companies that have confirmed their interest include local Turkish conglomerate Sabanci, Vodafone, Russian operator Sistema, Norway’s Telenor, Orascom, Koc Holding and France Telecom. The bidding deadline has been set for December 5 and the auction almost a week later. Etisalat is also expected to compete for a third GSM licence in Egypt when it is offered at the end of this month.

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