Etisalat mulls over Omantel move

Etisalat's bid for stake in Omantel hinges on conditions set by Omani government

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By  Ronan Shields Published  November 12, 2007

Etisalat's expected bid for a 19% stake in Omantel will depend on the sale conditions imposed by the Omani government, according to Etisalat's chief operations officer, Ahmad Julfar.

"We will wait for the conditions placed by the Oman government to see if they fit with our expectations," he told reporters.

The reported asking price for a 19% stake in Oman's incumbent telco, the country's second-largest company by market cap, is about $620 million, based on the company's current stock valuation.

Omantel is viewed as an attractive target by acquisitive telcos after its $204 million offer for a 60% share in Pakistani telco WorldCall was accepted by its sponsors, subject to regulatory approval.

Etisalat, the UAE's incumbent telco, has spent more than $6 billion on foreign expansion over the previous three years, allowing it to establish a footprint stretching from West Africa to Afghanistan.

In addition, Etisalat's Julfar also recently expressed an interest in bidding for Tunisia's third high-speed mobile licence. Earlier this week he told Reuters that investment opportunities in Tunisia were "very promising", and added that the company had every intention to invest in the country.

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