Korek Telecom said to be in talks with Iraqna

Iraqi operator wants to buy assets of Orascom Telecom's mobile subsidiary in Iraq, according to report.

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By  Michele Howe Published  August 22, 2007

Iraqi telco operator Korek Telecom has said it is in talks with Orascom Telecom's Iraqi subsidiary Iraqna, according to a report by Telegeography.com

Korek, one of the winners of the three licences awarded last week, said it is in discussions with Iraqna for the purchase of its telecom assets, including its infrastructure, according to the report.

Egypt's Orascom Telecom said last week it was considering selling the Iraqi unit after it withdrew from the Iraqi market during the auction for the three new 15-year national mobile licences.

It stated it was looking at alternatives to monetize the assets of Iraqna "including sale or joint venture".

Korek Telecom was not immediately available for confirmation of the report.

Iraqna was the first operator to be awarded the concession to operate in central Iraq, including in Baghdad. It currently has over two million subscribers on its network.

Another of the licence winners, Asiacell, which is 40% owned by Qatar Telecom through Kuwait's Wataniya, has already expressed interest in buying Iraqna's assets.

"If the opportunity comes up, we will look at it," Basil al-Rahim, managing partner of investment bank Merchant Bridge, another shareholder in Asiacell, told Reuters.

MTC Atheer, the third of the new licence holders, refused to speculate on Iraqna before a sale was confirmed.

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