Batelco set to finalise purchase of Umniah June 28

Batelco plans to operate Umniah independently to its fixed line business that trades under the brand name Batelco Jordan.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  June 28, 2006

After months of speculation, Batelco Jordan has confirmed its acquisition of Jordan’s third GSM operator, Umniah for a total consideration of US$415 million. Batelco agreed to purchase a 96% shareholding in Umniah, acquiring the shares of Umniah Telecom and Technologies (UTT); owned by Michael Dagher and Fouad Al Ghanim and Sons Group; Global Investment House; and related management contracts associated with the operation of the service provider. The Underprivileged Student Support Fund in Jordan’s universities will retain the remaining 4% equity in Umniah. Finalisation of the purchase is subject to certain preconditions but full completion is expected June 28. Umniah offers nationwide coverage with over 460 base stations across Jordan to more than 500,000 mobile subscribers. The operator started commercial operations late June 2005, gaining 13% of the Jordanian mobile market share in the last 12 months. “The acquisition of Umniah will provide significant profitable growth for Batelco in the expanding Jordanian market and boost the Company’s strategic long term plans,” commented Hassan Ali Juma. Batelco plans to operate Umniah independently to its fixed line business that trades under the brand name Batelco Jordan, and Batelco plans to continue its regional expansion drive through targeted acquisitions of other operators and licences. Last year, Batelco CEO Peter Kaliaropoulos told CommsMEA that the Bahraini company was actively seeking investment opportunities outside of its own country. “Now I don’t know why Batelco in the past has not been as aggressive as some of the other regional players. I really cannot answer that question because I have not been here, but from where I am today, I am looking forward to growing the geographies, in new vertical markets, because our [domestic] geography is limited, so I have got to crack other markets,” Kaliaropoulos said.

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