Warid Pakistan and SingTel ink US$758 million deal

Abu Dhabi-based Warid Telecom Group International has confirmed the sale of a 30% stake in its Pakistani operations to SingTel, in a deal worth over US$750 million.

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By  Ronan Shields Published  July 22, 2007

Abu Dhabi-based Warid Telecom Group International has confirmed the sale of a 30% stake in its Pakistani operations to SingTel, in a deal worth over US$750 million.

The Singaporean telco paid US$758 million for a 30% stake in Pakistan's third-largest operator Warid Telecom, which reported 9.7 million subscribers and a market share of 16.6% as of April 2007.

Warid executives claimed the deal was a vindication of its strategy and predicted the tie-up with SingTel would add value to the operation in Pakistan, with the deal valuing the Pakistan operator at an enterprise value of US$2.9 billion.

Warid Telecom has become EBITDA positive in just 17 months of operation. With six mobile operators in service, Pakistan has instituted a moratorium on the issue of new mobile licences.

"SingTel has made substantial investments in markets with high growth potential in South Asia, such as India and Bangladesh. Warid Telecom in Pakistan is a natural fit. We see strong upside in terms of the company's performance," said SingTel CEO Chua Sock Koong.

Mobile penetration in Pakistan is estimated at around 35%, and the market is expected to grow to in excess of 100 million subscribers in 2008, in a country with a population of 160 million.

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