MTC tops bids for Saudi licence with US$6.12 billion pledge

The Kuwait operator suggests the addition of the Saudi Arabia market to its footprint gives it a total footprint covering 494 million inhabitants, as well as access to a viable market in which average revenues stand at around US$35 per subscriber per month.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  March 25, 2007

A consortium headed by Kuwait’s MTC Group was last night confirmed as the highest bidder for Saudi Arabia’s third mobile licence. The consortium bid SAR22.91 billion (US$6.12 billion) for the concession, which is still to be ratified by the kingdom’s Council of Ministers. “We are delighted to have made the highest bid and look forward to confirmation of being awarded the third mobile licence in the attractive Saudi mobile market,” commented MTC Group CEO Saad Al Barrak in a statement. MTC currently holds a 50% interest in the consortium, which will be reduced to 25% following a mandatory initial public offering of the new mobile operator in the kingdom and allocations to two government entities. The expected launch date of MTC’s services in Saudi is early 2008. Local consortium partners include a number of Saudi Arabian businesses, including Saudi Plastics Factory, Almarai Company, Rakisa Holdings and Al Jeraisy Development Company MTC topped the bids of six other interested parties that included Oger Telecom, MTN South Africa and a consortium consisting of Abdullah Abdulazziz Al-Rajihi and Reliance Communications of India. The Kuwait operator suggests the addition of the Saudi Arabia market to its footprint gives it a total footprint covering 494 million inhabitants, as well as access to a viable market in which average revenues stand at around US$35 per subscriber per month.

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